Watch Jessica Jones grapple with being a hero in Netflix’s Season 2 trailer

[embedded content]

Netflix’s Jessica Jones is coming back for its second streaming season very soon, and there’s a new trailer you can watch to whet your appetite for the Marvel superhero show. This season looks like it picks up right where the last one left off (it includes some clips from the first series, in fact), but will focus even more on following Jones as she deals with her reluctance to adopt a heroic mantle.

All of Netflix’s Marvel characters, who together make up The Defenders and feature in the mini-series from last year of the same name, are a bit more quotidian in scope when compared to the high-flying Avengers. But Jones especially seems to be the most keen on avoiding self-describing as a “hero,” and instead proclaims (as she does in this very trailer) to be primarily concerned with just making a living.

Based on what little this trailer gives us to go on, it seems like the main narrative action of this season will involve a turning point where Jones has to embrace the heroic role in order to protect her friends, but it’s vague enough that who knows what that means. We’ll find out March 8, however, when the second season become available for streaming in its entirety.

Fox News to launch an over-the-top streaming service, Fox Nation


Fox News is going over-the-top. The Fox News Channel officially announced today the upcoming launch of an over-the-top streaming service called Fox Nation that will include live exclusive daily programing as well as long-form content available only to subscribers. Fox Nation will also include access to exclusive events and over 20 years of Fox News Channel programming, the company says.

News of the upcoming service, set to launch in Q4 this year, was first reported by The New York Times, which noted that the streaming service’s content won’t overlap with what’s aired on the broadcast channel. Instead, it will include mostly new content, produced daily, from new anchors and commentators.

One unique aspect to the service is that it will also encourage more interactivity with viewers through live events, like question-and-answer forums, says The NYT.

Details about the service’s exact launch date or pricing are not yet available, as that’s still being worked out.

However, John Finley, Senior Vice President of Development and Production at Fox News, described the service as one designed for the Fox News “super fan,” in his statement about the new product.

“With our traditional cable viewership at an all-time high, we are proud to announce a new digital offering geared entirely toward the FOX News superfans, who represent the most loyal audience in cable, if not all of television,” reads Finley’s statement. “This initiative will capitalize on providing that viewer, who is among the most affluent and well-educated in cable, with a highly specialized content experience on a platform they can watch anytime, anywhere.”

This statement hints that the new service isn’t necessarily designed for cord cutters, despite its over-the-top nature. Instead it’s more like supplemental content for those who can’t get enough Fox News from cable TV.

To what extent this product makes sense in a world that’s rapidly ditching pay TV is unclear, given that a plethora of live TV services on the market today already offer streaming, over-the-top access to Fox News itself, including YouTube TV, Hulu Live TV, DirecTV Now, and others.

And because Fox News is a 24/7 cable news channel, that means Fox Nation will basically be competing against its own parent company’s flagship offering. If anything, Fox Nation will siphon off viewers who want, somehow even less hard news content than they were getting from Fox News itself, and are more interested in opinions.

In fact, the company even refers to Fox Nation as an “over-the-top opinion platform” in its announcement.

The upcoming launch of Fox Nation follows Disney’s acquisition of Fox’s film and TV divisions, which excluded Fox News, Fox Broadcasting and Fox Sports; it is one of the first major new products to emerge from the now leaner 21st Century Fox.

Fox Nation is not the only news channel to experiment with new technology for digital apps, however. CNN acquired YouTuber Casey Neistat’s Beme, but that didn’t quite pan out and Neistat has since left the company. But CNN is continuing to develop some of the apps under the Beme umbrella, including a yet-to-launch live news app called Wire.

Meanwhile, the live-streamed business news network Cheddar is attracting a younger audience who doesn’t necessarily watch – or even own a TV.

Fox Nation will operate from the network’s New York headquarters, and will begin hiring in Q2.

Hulu’s weekend outage affected some users trying to watch Olympics, NBA All-Star game


Hulu is still recovering to a hit to its reputation due to a live streaming outage that affected some number of subscribers during the Super Bowl. But over the weekend, the company’s live TV service experienced another outage, this time leading to login and connection issues. The issues prevented users from watching other high-profile sporting events, including the Olympics and the NBA All-Star game, as well as other live TV programs and video-on-demand.

The company’s support Twitter account officially confirmed the problem on Saturday, February 17, 2018, saying the team was investigating the issue.

Shortly after confirming the problem was resolved, the account posted again to say that it was working on an issue affecting login.

Around an hour later, Hulu announced all affected services were fully restored.

But on Sunday night, February 18, 2018, Hulu tweeted again that some users were still experiencing login troubles.

This last issue wasn’t confirmed to be resolved until midnight on Monday, February 19, 2018.

That means for the majority of the weekend, some portion Hulu users were not able to use the service as expected. Needless to say, the affected subscribers were fairly upset about this, as indicated by their angry tweets.

Following every tweet from the @Hulu_Support account, is a stream of tweets from users who couldn’t log in, couldn’t stream, were experiencing lags, couldn’t start shows, and, in some cases had spent a lot of time troubleshooting the issues themselves to no avail. Many were also confused and upset because Hulu had tweeted the issues were resolved when they were not, as it turned out.

Some customers are even now demanding refunds for the month or a free month of service, like those affected by the Super Bowl outages received. (Hulu doesn’t have an official plan to dole out refunds at this time, as it did for Super Bowl, but its customer support team may give out refunds on a case-by-case basis for those who ask, we’ve heard.)

Hulu has declined to comment on the outage.

According to sources familiar with the situation that occurred over the weekend, the outages were a result of an issue at Hulu’s Las Vegas data center. The company had to migrate its services to another data center, and then later, migrate them back, leading to downtime for users. The root cause, however, is still under investigation.

This is a different problem from what had happened during the Super Bowl. The big game was interrupted for some due to a problem with Hulu’s system for extending live programming past its scheduled stop time.

That distinction may not matter much to Hulu users, however.

Unfortunately for Hulu, there’s little tolerance for technical issues with live TV services these days, given how many alternatives are now available. If one is not working well, subscribers can simply cancel and jump to another, like AT&T DirecTV Now, Dish’s Sling TV, Sony’s PlayStation Vue, fuboTV, Philo, or Google’s YouTube TV.

Even if the reported streaming issues don’t impact all users – Hulu said that only a “small percentage” were affected during the Super Bowl, for example (and this weekend’s outage may be even smaller) – consumers may still be concerned about the service’s stability because of what’s happening to other customers.

Meanwhile, YouTube TV has been capitalizing on Hulu’s connectivity issues to tout its own service’s reliability. When announcing its channel expansions and $5 per month price increase last week, for example, YouTube TV highlighted how stable is service is.

“We have, by a very wide margin, the most live local stations. And on top of that, it’s also about quality of signal and reliability of signal,” Heather Moosnick, Director of Content Partnerships at YouTube TV, had said in an interview with TechCrunch.

“Those are two things we’re really focused on. We want people to know that when they’re signing up to a live TV service, they’re going to get a live TV service….It’s something we’re very invested in and committed to. If it’s the first time you’ve signed up to a live TV service and you can’t watch the Super Bowl – we want to make sure that doesn’t happen to you,” she added, clearly referencing Hulu’s recent struggles.

Hulu had heavily promoted its custom interface for tracking the Olympics as a big differentiator from other streaming competitors. The company’s app allows users to follow their favorite events, and keep up with them from a personalized dashboard. But however great the feature is, it’s no good if the service itself doesn’t work.

Hulu is not the first to struggle with connectivity in the early days of its service. Both Sling TV and DirecTV Now also experienced issues in the past, and both have since grown to become the two largest, in terms of subscribers.

Federal judge rules that embedded tweets can represent copyright infringement


A recent ruling by a New York federal judge could have significant implications for how copyright laws are enforced.

The ruling was made in a case where Justin Goldman accused publications including Breitbart, Time, Yahoo, Vox Media, and the Boston Globe of violating his copyright by embedding tweets with his photo of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Broady into their stories. Goldman had posted the photo to Snapchat, but it went viral and other users subsequently uploaded it to Twitter.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the photo in question was a picture of Brady, Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge and others, and it was used in stories about whether Brady might help the Celtics recruit Kevin Durant.

The publishers had asked for a summary judgment in this case, based on what’s known as the “server test” — where the liability for copyright infringement is determined by whether an image is hosted on the publisher’s server, or if the publisher just embedded or linked to an image that’s hosted elsewhere.

Judge Katherine Forrest argued that the server test has not been applied widely outside Ninth Circuit. She wrote:

The plain language of the Copyright Act, the legislative history undergirding its enactment, and subsequent Supreme Court jurisprudence provide no basis for a rule that allows the physical location or possession of an image to determine who may or may not have ‘displayed’ a work within the meaning of the Copyright Act … Nowhere does the Copyright Act suggest that possession of an image is necessary in order to display it. Indeed, the purpose and language of the Act support the opposite view.

This ruling doesn’t mean the publishers have lost the suit — it simply rejects their motion for summary judgment. However, it’s already drawn criticism from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which called the server test “a foundation of the modern Internet.”

“We hope that today’s ruling does not stand,” wrote the EFF’s Daniel Nazer. “If it did, it would threaten the ubiquitous practice of in-line linking that benefits millions of Internet users every day.”

Featured Image: TechCrunch

Original Content podcast: We welcome the reign of Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’

Marvel’s Black Panther officially opens today, but TechCrunch’s Darrell Etherington and Anthony Ha have seen it already.

Darrell and Anthony are both comic book nerds, and the latest episode of the Original Content podcast includes plenty of discussion about how the latest movie fits into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But Black Panther isn’t just for hardcore comic geeks, so we also talk about how it works as a standalone film, and why it’s a breakthrough from the perspective of politics and representation.

We weren’t satisfied with just having one review in this episode. Darrell, Anthony and their co-host Jordan Crook also talk about Babylon Berlin, a series that’s new to Netflix (it already premiered on Sky in Europe) that takes place in 1920s Berlin. The show begins with a police investigation, but ends up encompassing a bigger political conspiracy and painting a portrait of Weimar-era Germany.

And we recap the week’s streaming news, namely Ryan Murphy signing an exclusive deal with Netflix and the second season of Carpool Karaoke. (We haven’t actually seen the Apple Music version of the show, but this was still a good opportunity for Darrell to say more about why he hates James Corden.)

You can listen in the player above, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You also can send us feedback directly.

Featured Image: Disney/Marvel

Sorry, Apple’s ‘Carpool Karaoke’ gets a second season


Despite its almost universally negative reception from critics, Apple has chosen to renew James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke” series for Apple Music for a second season. CBS CEO Leslie Moonves announced the renewal on the company’s earning call this week, as part of its commitment to producing more original content, according to a report from Deadline.

The series, which is based on the recurring segment from “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” has been streaming on Apple Music since August 2017. It’s essentially an expanded format of what had previously been much shorter clip when it was aired on TV. It also doesn’t have Corden hosting, save for a couple of the episodes.

In 20+-minute long videos, the Apple series has featured a cavalcade of guests like Will Smith, Alicia Keys, John Legend, LeBron James, Billy Eichner, Metallica, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Seth MacFarlane, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Shaquille O’Neal, John Cena, Shakira, Trevor Noah, and many others.

Despite the big names, reviews for the show have not been kind.

The Guardian, for example, called it “marginally more watchable than the feeble ‘Planet of the Apps,’” which is a low blow, considering how badly “Planet of the Apps” tanked. Variety said that by making the show a standalone series, its “weaknesses are magnified.” And TechCrunch’s Brian Heater said the show is “not a compelling reason to subscribe to Apple Music.”

And yet, it will return – which must indicate that at least some people are watching. Deadline says, in fact, that “Carpool Karaoke” has been the most popular video content on Apple Music. (It didn’t say how it sourced this claim, however.)

Of course, the series currently has very little competition, as Apple Music today features few other original series. That will soon change, however.

Apple has upped its investment in originals, and now has a number of more promising shows in the works, including a Witherspoon-backed comedy starring Kristen Wiig and thriller starring Octavia Spencer, a documentary series about extraordinary homesa revival of “Amazing Stories” exec-produced by Steven Spielberg, a new space drama from “Battlestar Galactica’s” creator Ronald D. Moore, called “See,” a scripted basketball show based on Kevin Durant’s life, and show from “La La Land” director Damien Chazelle.

Sorry, Apple’s ‘Carpool Karaoke’ gets a second season


Despite its almost universally negative reception from critics, Apple has chosen to renew James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke” series for Apple Music for a second season. CBS CEO Leslie Moonves announced the renewal on the company’s earning call this week, as part of its commitment to producing more original content, according to a report from Deadline.

The series, which is based on the recurring segment from “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” has been streaming on Apple Music since August 2017. It’s essentially an expanded format of what had previously been much shorter clip when it was aired on TV. It also doesn’t have Corden hosting, save for a couple of the episodes.

In 20+-minute long videos, the Apple series has featured a cavalcade of guests like Will Smith, Alicia Keys, John Legend, LeBron James, Billy Eichner, Metallica, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Seth MacFarlane, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Shaquille O’Neal, John Cena, Shakira, Trevor Noah, and many others.

Despite the big names, reviews for the show have not been kind.

The Guardian, for example, called it “marginally more watchable than the feeble ‘Planet of the Apps,’” which is a low blow, considering how badly “Planet of the Apps” tanked. Variety said that by making the show a standalone series, its “weaknesses are magnified.” And TechCrunch’s Brian Heater said the show is “not a compelling reason to subscribe to Apple Music.”

And yet, it will return – which must indicate that at least some people are watching. Deadline says, in fact, that “Carpool Karaoke” has been the most popular video content on Apple Music. (It didn’t say how it sourced this claim, however.)

Of course, the series currently has very little competition, as Apple Music today features few other original series. That will soon change, however.

Apple has upped its investment in originals, and now has a number of more promising shows in the works, including a Witherspoon-backed comedy starring Kristen Wiig and thriller starring Octavia Spencer, a documentary series about extraordinary homesa revival of “Amazing Stories” exec-produced by Steven Spielberg, a new space drama from “Battlestar Galactica’s” creator Ronald D. Moore, called “See,” a scripted basketball show based on Kevin Durant’s life, and show from “La La Land” director Damien Chazelle.