Having been one of the lucky ones to win an Echo at the Capital One House activation at SXSW last year, I’ve called on Alexa to start my morning every day since. “Alexa, play BBC Radio 6 Music,” and she complies, pulling up the British station on TuneIn. Amazon’s Alexa made a lot of waves (no pun intended) at this year’s CES as the voice assistant expanded its support offerings, from cars and refrigerators, to Lenovo’s similar device to the Echo.

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Amazon Music Unlimited and Alexa became the hot topic of conversation between Billboard, Jeff Bezos, and the vice president for Amazon Music, Steve Boom. Coming in at number 12 on Billboard's 2017 Power 100 list, the two execs discussed how Amazon Music Unlimited has some differentiating, cloud-based, machine learning architecture planned for its service that, when combined with the Echo, enables a user to create unique playlists, “Alexa, shuffle British Grime from last year,” or by your mood, “Alexa, play sad shoegazer rock from the ‘90s,” all through voice activation versus manually searching for and setting up a playlist on Spotify or Apple Music.

“If you’re asking people to pay for streaming music in a world where there are a lot of free alternatives, then you need to build a service that they want to use every day,” Boom told Billboard. “And that’s one of the beauties of this device. What we are seeing is that people are listening to more music than ever: we see from data, and we hear anecdotally from customers.”

 

Just WON an Amazon Echo from @capitalone!! The app now works with Alexa. #SXSW #SXSW2016 #capitalonehouse

A photo posted by Kim Owens (@kaffeinebuzz) on

Even without this unique feature, Billboard reported Amazon's Prime Music subscribers increased by 50 percent in 2016, which is quite a feat considering it only has a fraction of the catalog offerings of its competitors.

One needs to factor in that Amazon’s ecommerce and myriad of content offerings (books, newspapers, magazines, gaming, streaming video), along with its Prime service, give the company a powerful market advantage. Alexa’s voice recognition technology is also superior to Apple’s Siri, which STILL can’t do a simple map or contacts search most of the time, making you want to throw your iPhone out your car window. That woman needs to get a hearing aid.

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In January of this year, Netflix spread its streaming wings into 190 countries, all with one full swoop. Amazon has been on Netflix’s heels ever since, as one would expect. And while the Bezos-run company took eleven months to catch up, it looks like Prime Video will expand from only streaming in the US, UK, Germany, and Japan, to 200 countries in December, including India, which was announced this past July.

The new broke from the hosts – James May, Richard Hammond, and Jeremy Clarkson - of the newly launched The Grand Tour, an Amazon Original Series formally known as Top Gear on BBC. The series first aired on November 18 after the teaser video gave the ‘going global’ news in true Top Gear fashion (sorry, the new name will take some getting used to), including a bit of self-deprecation and sarcasm along with a few informative facts.

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This week’s Streaming Buzz will be a bit more brief. It’s difficult to think about the world of streaming when the world as you thought you knew it becomes very surreal. As the fog of dismay rises, streaming, both live and on-demand, will actually become even more important to our lives, enabling citizen content creators to make their voices known, to bring about awareness of important topics and causes, giving us moments of escape in live sports, film, television, and music while delivering news (hopefully more truthful than fake) to expand on our levels of education, empathy, and entertainment. All important assets for lives well lived and evolving for the better.

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People Turned to Showtime’s Streaming Service for Stephen Colbert’s Election Night Show

“We all feel the way Rudi Giuliani looks,” said Stephen Colbert in the closing moments of his one-off Election Night special on Showtime. Funny ‘cause it’s true Mr. Colbert. Instead of tuning into the major network news, many in the country signed up for Showtime’s standalone streaming service, driving the second biggest night of sign ups since the service was launched in July of last year, according to Quartz.

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In case you missed it, where Murdock's 21st Century Fox failed, AT&T is making their play to acquire Time Warner, Inc., Comcast customers paying more for streaming gets the internet and cable provider in hot water, and UK consumers say most streaming music subscriptions are too high.

And there's more, so read on...

ICYMI - Streaming Buzz October 24 - AT&T and Tiime Warner, Streaming Music's Pricing Problems, DirecTV Now

There was a teaser bit of news on Friday that AT&T may be making a bid for Time Warner, Inc., and by Saturday AT&T made it final that the two conglomerates had committed to getting into bed together. This potential marriage will have a long engagement period, with many hurdles for the two companies to get over in 2017, including a lot of due diligence by the Federal Communication Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice, along with gluttony of scrutiny from consumer watch groups.

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In case you missed it, last week's streaming news included Pandora pumping up user engagement with new video streaming features, Twitter securing more live streaming partners, and HBO seeking a bigger piece of the monetary pie, being as frustrated with cable companies' greed as Pay-TV customers.

And there’s more, so read on…

 Twitter Live Streaming Election Night with BuzzFeed

Tune into Twitter and BuzzFeed on Election Night

After Twitter broke records during the second presidential debate, it’s on track to live stream the real-time happenings on election night, partnering with BuzzFeed. Metrics from that debate revealed that of the 3.2 million unique visitors, an estimated 70 percent were younger than 35, according to Huffington Post.

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