VIDEO INSIDER: Netflix Still Unstoppable - TiVo Lays Off Its Design Team - Google To Rank Your ISP

Welcome to our new Video Insider newsletter, a morning email with the top news and analysis on the digital video industry, produced by BI Intelligence.

NOTHING STOPPING NETFLIX: Reed Hastings, Netflix’s CEO, laid out positive news during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call yesterday, easing the concerns of investors and industry analysts. The company ended 2013 with over 44 million users, gaining 11 million subscribers since the end of 2012, the largest year-over-year net increase in the company’s history. Netflix expects this number to reach 48 million by the end of the first quarter of this year.

As for the next phase of Netflix’s business, Netflix is currently testing new pricing plans, which will be based on a user’s simultaneous streams and video quality. Any changes to the company’s pricing model will likely be rolled out slowly. Customers were outraged when the company announced that it raised prices and changed its DVD rental service plan in September 2011. The move, which was partially reversed, cost the company an estimated 800,000 subscribers.

Hastings contended that increased competition from competitors, like Hulu and Amazon, and the recent overturning of net neutrality regulations will have little to no impact on Netflix’s growth, both in terms of revenue and subscribers. We’ll have a more detailed analysis on Netflix’s growth trajectory in our daily chart (Netflix)

TIVO LAYS OFF NEARLY ITS ENTIRE DESIGN TEAM: TiVo is likely leaving the hardware business, after the company laid off all but two members of its hardware design team. The company has previously suggested that it will shift its focus to software. In the summer, TiVo Executive Jeff Klugman told WIRED, “Software is the future of TiVo.” The company’s latest product announcements offer extensive integration with third parties, including a DVR that can only be purchased through a cable provider. The service is expected to allow users to store recorded shows in the cloud, and then retrieve them through a TV, smartphone, tablet, or the company’s Roku app. (WIRED)

GOOGLE TO RANK HOW WELL YOUR ISP DELIVERS YOUTUBE: Google is launching a service that will evaluate the speed and quality of Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The service, which will debut first in Canada, will rank how well ISPs deliver 720p HD video. ISPs that are capable of carrying smooth and uninterrupted HD content at least 90% of the time will be labelled as “YouTube HD Verified.” The aim of the service is to help users measure the quality of their ISP, and, on the ISP side, to give these companies a better rating system to use to help promote their services — assuming they get high marks. Google did not provide details on when the ISP ranking could launch in markets outside of Canada. (Financial Post, Google)

WELCOME, VIDEO INSIDERS:The Video Insider newsletter covers the day’s most important topics in digital video, as well as news exclusives of interest to industry insiders. We look forward to the newsletter becoming an important part of your morning routine.

Subscribe to BI Intelligence and get it every morning in your inbox. Please email BI Intelligence research analyst [email protected] or BI Intelligence director [email protected] with news and tips.

POCKET SUPPORTS AIRPLAY: Pocket, a hugely popular app for managing articles, images, and videos from the Internet, just added support for AirPlay. The new feature will allow users to stream content stored in the Pocket app to their television through an Apple TV. After rebranding from its early days as Read It Later, Pocket has expanded its focus beyond text to include multimedia, such as video. Over 2 million videos are stored in the app every week, according to the company’s press release (The Verge, Pocket)

AEREO’S LEGAL CASE WILL HAVE A HUGE IMPACT ON THE FUTURE OF TV: Early this month, the U.S. Supreme Court said it would hear an appeal by broadcasters, including 21st Century Fox, ABC, CBS, and NBCUniversal, that challenges the legitimacy of Aereo’s live TV streaming service. Aereo allows its subscribers access to an antenna and DVR stored at one of the company’s warehouses. The subscribers can then stream and store live TV. If Aerao wins, the broadcasters have threatened to abandon the airwaves altogether, opting instead to deliver their content through cable. Sport leagues, including the NFL and MLB also threatened to pull their games from broadcast TV. Stay tuned for more coverage on how Aereo’s legal case will impact the future of television. (Mashable)

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