Hulu and Spotify, streaming services that have begun offering bundles of their two services, have both revealed how many subscribers they have.
Hulu, the popular video streaming service, announced on Wednesday that they had more than 20 million subscribers, according to CNN Money. These numbers aren’t as high as Netflix’s, as CNN Money notes that Netflix has about 55 million subscribers in the United States. But the numbers still suggest Hulu is a decent competitor when it comes to the video streaming game.
They could also potentially gain more subscribers, as well, as some announced changes certainly seem enticing. Hulu, like Netflix, already has some of their own original programming (like the popular Handmaid’s Tale). Until now, though, Netflix offered something Hulu didn’t: offline watching. Hulu now plans to make content available to download and watch offline, says CNN Money. The content would still play with ads, but an internet connection wouldn’t be necessary.
Spotify announced their own numbers on Thursday. Spotify is a popular music streaming service that offers paid and free accounts. According to TechSpot, Spotify now has 75 million paid subscribers to their service, and the number of people who use the service every month is also huge: 170 million. And as TechSpot also mentions, Spotify’s 75 million paid subscribers is far above Apple Music’s 40 million. This only further cements Spotify as the major competitor in the music streaming arena.
Hulu and Spotify both offer their own separate subscriptions, but over the past months they’ve begun offering bundles, as well. Last year they began offering a student plan that bundled the two services for only $4.99 a month. And just last month, a bundle was announced for everyone else that would offer both services for just $12.99, which is higher than the student price but still a significantly less expensive option.
The recent ‘super blue blood moon’ was widely talked about and watched by many people. This lunar eclipse was particularly special because of the combination of different qualities. If you happened to miss this particular lunar eclipse, though, don’t worry—there are plenty of cool astronomical events to watch out for.
Some people may not really be aware of how many astronomical events there are each year. Between eclipses, meteor showers, interesting planetary alignments, and all sorts of other nighttime visuals, there’s plenty to watch. Because of this, it can seem difficult to keep up with all the upcoming events. And once you know what’s coming, you might be wondering how to best watch. Thankfully, there are sites and apps ready to help! You can always go the old school route, tech-free, but you can improve your sky-watching experience with the suggestions on this list.
There are plenty of apps and sites you can use to watch for upcoming events. You can typically find the same information through all these options, so it all comes down to personal preference. Check out these sites and apps to see which you like the best!
American Almanac of Astronomy and Weather—The Almanac (for iOS) lets you check out forecasts for many different things, including astronomical events. You can see upcoming events like eclipses and meteor showers, along with astronomical data.
Sky Events—This app (for Android) lists past and future astronomical events of all sorts. You can look by category, like lunar eclipses and meteor showers, plus you can learn more about the type of event and add events to your Google Calendar, along with other features.
Nat Geo’s Starstruck—This section on the National Geographic website features detailed and highly informational articles about upcoming astronomical events to watch out for. You can learn about exciting events, including the science behind them, in many cases. And since it’s Nat Geo, you can look at some stunning photos that accompany each article.
The New York Times Calendar—This calendar from NYT shows upcoming events, like meteor showers and eclipses, plus things like space launches. It can be accessed as a website, or you can have the calendar synced to your Google or iOS calendar.
Space.com Skywatching—The Skywatching section on Space.com posts guides to upcoming astronomical events, including lunar events, planetary events, and space launches. Since it’s Space.com, you can also expect to learn more about the science of these events through their articles.
Once you know what’s coming up next, try using one of these apps to figure out exactly where to look and what to look for!
Night Sky—This app (for iOS) can help you learn more about the night sky through an AR experience. You can identify stars, planets, and other objects, so if you’re not sure where to look for a certain event, this app can help you find the way. You can also do things like take “Sky Tours” and, if you have the Premium version, experience the solar system with augmented reality.
Sky Map—This app (for Android) is one of the early apps used for sky watching. Originally called Google Sky Maps, this app is now open-source (hence the name change) and lets you point your phone to find things like planets and constellations. You can even search for objects and let the app direct you to where they are.
SkyView—This app (for Android and iOS) lets you find or identify objects in the sky, like planets and stars. You can also learn about different objects that you look at. And it has night mode filters to make sure your eyes stay adjusted while you’re watching the stars.
How you can watch
Whether you’re stepping outside to watch or too far from the event to spot it, there are a couple sites you can use to make your plans!
Astronomy clubs—Thanks to NASA, you can easily find local astronomy clubs on the web. Their website has a club search that lets you search locations for a club to join. Even if you don’t join a club, knowing which clubs to follow can keep you up-to-date on things like watch parties.
Slooh—This site has quite a few fun astronomical offerings. Perhaps most importantly, you can watch live feeds and live events. There are live feeds from a number of different telescopes that you can check out all day, plus if there’s an upcoming event—like an eclipse or comet—you can likely watch a live stream of it. You have to pay to maintain a membership, but you can start a free 30-day trial to check it out!
Facebook is once again adding a new feature to improve the watching experience. Facebook’s new ‘Watch Party’ feature brings users a way to watch videos with other people.
As CNET reports, Facebook is testing a new feature that lets people come together to watch videos. The feature works with Live videos currently being broadcast, as well as videos that have already been posted. In its current state, it’s being tested by groups on Facebook. Groups are communities formed of people with a shared interest. Admins of the groups can choose a public video and let the group members watch it together while they comment and react to it.
Fidji Simo, the Video director for Facebook, wrote a post about the new feature being tested. In it, she notes that it’s being tested with a “handful of Groups.” This is just the beginning of the Watch Party feature. The test is small at the moment, but Simo mentions they “hope to expand Watch Party in the future.”
This emphasis on bringing groups closer together appears to be part of Facebook’s focus on “meaningful social interactions,” which Mark Zuckerberg wrote about in a recent post. Zuckerberg addressed concerns with Facebook updates that focused more on impersonal ads and branded content instead of content from friends. The post makes it clear that Facebook will now be making a point to make their platform feel more personal again.
Facebook has also been working hard to be at the top of the game when it comes to watching videos on their platform. Over the past months, they’ve added features that improve the video experience for creators and for viewers. In September, Facebook added their Facebook Watch section, which lets viewers keep up with channels and series. It also lets creators draw in more viewers. In October, the platform updated their Facebook Live feature to let users stream their screens. And in November, they released Facebook Creator, an app that helps video makers produce even better content.
Facebook’s Watch Party feature is just the newest in a long line of improvements to Facebook’s watching experience. It’s also a step towards a more personal experience on the social media platform. As it’s rolled out, hopefully users will have more opportunities to enjoy content together and feel more connected.