Hotstar, Disney’s Indian streaming service, sets new global record for live viewership

Indian video streaming giant Hotstar, owned by Disney, today set a new global benchmark for the number of people an OTT service can draw to a live event.

Some 18.6 million users simultaneously tuned into Hotstar’s website and app to watch the deciding game of the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament. The streaming giant, which competes with Netflix and Amazon in India, broke its own “global best” 10.3 million concurrent views milestone that it had set last year.

Hotstar topped the 10 million concurrent viewership mark a number of times during this year’s 51-day IPL season. More than 12.7 million viewers huddled to watch an earlier game in the tournament (between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians), a spokesperson for the four-year-old service said. In mid-April, Hotstar said that the cricket series had already garnered a 267 million overall viewership, creating a new record for the streamer. (Last year’s IPL had clocked a 202 million [...]  read more

Fanduel is now charging inactive users $3 per month for not playing

You expect to lose money gambling, but you don’t really expect to lose it abstaining from gambling. But if you’re Fanduel user who hasn’t made any bets or deposits for two years, the site will now deduct $3 per month until you put some money on the table. You have to play to win, it seems, but not to lose.

In an email sent to such lapsed (or perhaps recovering) users, including Engadget’s Richard Lawler, Fanduel wrote:

It appears your account has been inactive for over two years, which means you have neither deposited nor entered a contest during that time. We’ve recently updated our Terms of Use to impose a monthly inactivity fee of $2.99 for any accounts that have no play or deposit activity for a period of 24+ months. Per our terms, we are providing you with 30 days notice prior to imposing this fee.

How many inactive accounts do you think you have at random sites you signed up for and never ended up using? Dozens, maybe even a hundred for some? Has any one of these sites [...]  read more

MLB to exclusively stream 13 live games to YouTube & YouTube TV

YouTube today announced a new partnership with the MLB which will allow the site to exclusively live stream 13 MLB games to both YouTube and YouTube TV during the second half of the regular baseball season. While YouTube TV had previously partnered with MLB — it’s currently serving as the presenting partner for the World Series, for example — this is YouTube’s first-ever exclusive live game partnership with the league.

The company says the schedule of the games and dates will be announced in a few weeks’ time, but will include 13 games that will be exclusively available to viewers in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico for free on the MLB YouTube channel, and on a dedicated channel that will come to YouTube TV.

The games will also include a pre-game and post-game show, and will contain MLB and YouTube-themed content from popular YouTube creators, who have yet to be announced. The games will be produced and enhanced for the YouTube platform by the MLB Network’s production team.

Deal [...]  read more

Zwift CEO Eric Min on fitness-gaming and bringing esports into the Olympics

The rumored IPO plans of $4 billion spinning brand Peloton marks the rise of a wave of interactive fitness startups like Mirror, Tonal, Hydrow, and At Home 360 that combine a monthly subscription to recorded and/or live video classes with workout hardware.

There’s opportunity beyond this initial “Peloton for X” model, however, when you look at where the gamification of at-home workout experiences can overlap with actual games. We’re in the midst of rapid growth in the gaming industry, the rise of esports, the mainstream-ing of socializing within games due to Fortnite

The virtual cycling business Zwift is a five-year-old startup that has raised over $170 million as a pioneer of fitness-gaming ― physical sport carried out in a virtual world. Athletes join together for group rides [...]  read more

MLB exploring using tech to help call balls and strikes

If you follow baseball with even a passing interest, you know that nearly everyone’s got a way to “fix” the national pastime. Pitch clocks, moving the mound — there are a million ideas for how to curb waning interest in the sport. Robo umpires have long been on the list, as well, but given the sort of pushback things like instant replay have traditionally received among the fan base, that’s always seemed like a bit of a technological pipe dream.

That, however, is precisely what indie ball is for, apparently. Late last month, Major League Baseball announced a partnership with the Atlantic League, which would use the indie league as a sort of beta testing ground before introducing features into the majors. A whole bunch of rules were announced earlier today, including, most notably (for our sake, at least), an automated system for helping umps call balls and strikes.

The system utilizes TrackMan, a radar system that’s already installed in all 30 major [...]  read more

Barstool Sports founder reportedly blames company ‘idiots’ for copyright controversy

In a recent Twitter thread, comedian Miel Bredouw recounted some shady behavior by Barstool Sports’ legal team. In fact, even Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy isn’t trying to defend it, and instead reportedly described it as “moronic,” admitting it, “makes us look like assholes.”

According to Bredouw (who backed up her account with screenshots of key correspondence), Barstool Sports uploaded one of her videos — a performance of “Slob on my Knob” set to the tune of “Carol of the Bells” — without attribution. When her request for credit was ignored, she filed a DMCA complaint, and the video was taken down.

However, she said various members of the Barstool team then began contacting her asking her to retract the complaint. They offered her a $50 gift card to Barstool’s online store, which was eventually upped to an offer of a $500 payment, and then $2,000 — the last one made in an email from the company’s general counsel Mark Marin.

I honestly [...]  read more

The Super Bowl gets voice-enabled

Amazon, Dish, Comcast and others are hoping to turn Super Bowl 2019 into a way to show off the potential for their voice technologies and TV integrations. The companies this week have been touting new features and a variety of voice commands that will allow viewers to get prepared for the big game, learn about players and teams, tune into NFL news and highlights, set their recordings and more.

In some cases, this may be as simple as asking your TV to tune to the Super Bowl, record the event or get more information about the game, as is the case with Dish. Customers can press the button on their Dish voice remote, then say “Super Bowl” or “Super Bowl 53” to watch, find information or record the game, the company says.

Comcast and Amazon are taking things further, however.

Comcast’s Xfinity X1 customers can now use their voice remote to get the latest stats, get pre-game news and post-game highlights or even turn on an app that tracks real-time stats on the screen during the big [...]  read more

Turner had to stream Woods-Mickelson golf event for free due to glitch

However, not everyone is happy with the freebie. Comcast said it was “proactively” offering refunds to Xfinity cable subscribers who’d paid for the golf showdown, since they could have tuned in at no charge. It also pressured Turner to “do the same” knowing there were no barriers to watching through its website.

This isn’t the first big pay-per-view streaming hiccup, but it’s one of the more prominent examples. It’s also somewhat humbling. Variety noted that AT&T and WarnerMedia were betting the Woods-Mickelson would serve as a showcase for their unified technological and broadcasting abilities — clearly, that didn’t go according to plan. As rare as this kind of incident might be, it suggests that online viewing isn’t as reliable as it could be.

social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #engadget https://www.engadget.com/2018/11/25/turner-glitch-led-to-free-woods-mickelson-event/

NBA League Pass transforms games into VR viewing parties

The new season brings back some familiar experiences including a “screening room” that shows as many as 13 League Pass games at once. You can watch with most any common VR headset, including Oculus gear, the HTC Vive line and PlayStation VR.

You’ll have to be sparing with your VR basketball experiences. NextVR has 26 games scheduled for 3D VR viewing, starting with Golden State at Denver on October 21st. Six of those (including the game on the 21st) are free preview games, however — it won’t cost you to give virtual viewing a try.

NBA League Pass 2018-2019 VR schedule

social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #engadget https://www.engadget.com/2018/10/16/nba-league-pass-shared-vr-viewing/

SoftBank leads $35M investment in sports engagement startup Heed

Heed, a startup looking to create new ways for sports leagues and clubs to engage with fans, is announcing that it has raised $35 million led by SoftBank Group International.

As laid out for me by CEO Danna Rabin, the company sits at the intersection of sports and IoT — which makes sense, since it was founded by Internet of Things company AGT International and talent agency Endeavor.

“Our primary mission is to connect the young audience with sports leagues and clubs,” Rabin said. “[Those] audiences are consuming less broadcast TV, consuming less of anything linearly. Sports clubs and brands are having more and more issues connecting with and reengaging those younger audiences.”

To create that connection, Heed places sensors around the match or game venue, even potentially on players’ clothing and equipment.

For example, the team let me make a couple punches using gloves with sensors inside, which were created for the mixed martial arts league UFC. Afterwards, I could see the [...]  read more