Saffron Digital Shows Off Digital Delivery Solution

January 10, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

LAS VEGAS — Welcome back to America, Saffron Digital.

At the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Saffron Digital showed off its our Stage end-to-end online video platform, which allows for any retailer or content owner to launch a premium multi-platform entertainment service or UltraViolet storefront.

The specialist in managing and delivering premium OTT services was acquired by Cinram from HTC Corp. for $47 million in September, and has most every major studio and companies like Dolby and DTS as partners.

Click here to read the full story…

CES Variety Panel Talks the Future of Tech

January 9, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

LAS VEGAS — Steve Power Brown, chief evangelist and futurist for Intel, isn’t faulting the consumer electronics industry for going for gold with Ultra-HD. He just wonders if there’s consumer patience for it.

“The consumer electronics industry is rallied around giving consumers an experience they didn’t actually ask for,” he said Jan. 8, speaking at a Variety-sponsored panel at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). “[They’re] more interested in consuming content in different ways, and less interested in having a giant 80-inch screen.”

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CES Variety Panel Talks the Future of Tech

January 9, 2014 · Posted in M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

LAS VEGAS — Steve Power Brown, chief evangelist and futurist for Intel, isn’t faulting the consumer electronics industry for going for gold with Ultra-HD. He just wonders if there’s consumer patience for it.

“The consumer electronics industry is rallied around giving consumers an experience they didn’t actually ask for,” he said Jan. 8, speaking at a Variety-sponsored panel at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). “[They’re] more interested in consuming content in different ways, and less interested in having a giant 80-inch screen.”

It was a point of contention among many at this year’s CES: yes, Ultra-HD (UHD) is beautiful, and both the consumer electronics companies and major studios are backing it in a big way. But considering the CE and content industries had everyone upgrade the high-def not long ago, is it too much too soon?

“People want the basics,” said Paul Berry, founder and CEO of online content publishing company RebelMouse. “Get it to us timely, easy to get to and cheap. And we’ll pay.”

Lincoln Wallen, chief technology officer for DreamWorks Animation noted that content is still king, no matter the format, and all you have to do is look at the younger viewers for proof. He said they demand more interaction and more participation with their content, at levels their linear TV elders don’t quite understand.

While everyone at CES is talking about the next big thing — 4K — David Cohen, senior editor with Variety, noted that nobody at CES is talking about what was supposed to be the next big thing — 3D — just a couple years ago.

Thomas Gewecke, chief digital officer and EVP of strategy and business development for Warner Bros. said 3D is less of buzz word, something that is already incorporated into most 4K sets, and not going anywhere anytime soon.

“If you look at how popular 3D is in the theatrical experience, you can see how important and valuable it is to bring it into the home,” he said.

Wallen isn’t one to disagree about the importance of 3D. After all, his studio creates every theatrical release in 3D.

“The issue we found early on is that the content has to be native 3D,” he said. “It’s a marriage with the content and the technology, and that takes time. I don’t think [3D] is dead. I do think for casual users, autostereoscopic [3D without glasses] is important.”

Gale Anne Hurd, executive producer of “The Walking Dead,” used herself as an example of why people shouldn’t shy away from new technology. She walks around with a Samsung-branded smart watch all the time now, and she does so with no hesitation, she said.

“When people see it, they want it,” she said.

Experts at CES Discuss Problems with Content Everywhere

January 8, 2014 · Posted in M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

LAS VEGAS — Pam Schechter, VP of business affairs for NBC Universal’s digital cable entertainment business, gets it: consumers want what they want when they want it.

That doesn’t make it realistic, or profitable, she said Jan. 7, speaking at the International Consumer Electronics Show.  “We have [content] windows to maximize revenue,” she said. “We understand the consumer wants to see content everywhere, but …”

But it creates problems for content companies, including BBC Worldwide, according to Beth Clearfield, the company’s SVP of digital, media and business development. When long-standing windows are challenged due to impatient consumers and digital piracy, what are content companies to do?

She suggested what many content companies have experimented with: eliminate the linear piece of the puzzle, and go straight to digital. She said that approach still allows for electronic sellthrough and DVD windows, while still giving consumers what they want, when they want it.

John Calkins, partner and VP of IBM’s Strategy and Transformation Center of Competence, said the problem facing content companies isn’t just the ease of digital, it’s the ease of rental. When companies like Redbox began offering DVDs for $1 or so a night — instead of $15-$20 to own — it was the beginning of the end for packaged media, he suggested.

That may be why content companies are taking a stab at things like 3D and 4K … with mixed results, panelists said.

“Any one of these new technologies introduced is great for the consumer,” said Lisa Choi Owens, chief operating officer of uLive, one of Scripps Networks Interactive’s online content portals. “If you can afford it.” She added that when content owners support all the different versions of content — 4K, 3D, HD, and dozens of online codecs — it creates a strain on their resources.

And Elizabeth Huszarik, EVP of media research and insights for Warner Bros., looked at it from the point of the average American, pulling in less than $60,000 a year. “When you think about the share of wallet, are consumers going to run out and buy a 4K TV?” she said.

Schechter looked at it from a logistical standpoint for content owners: making 4K requires new and expensive equipment, and pushing it through the pipes presents challenges. “Unless there’s an easy way to send this content, it’s going to be hard to adapt to it,” she said.

Still, Emil Rensing, chief digital officer for Epix — the multiplatform pay-TV channel run by Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Lionsgate — said 4K has a chance with consumers, if 3D is any indication. The higher ticket price for 3D movies in theaters and the higher SRP for 3D content in the home proves “there’s definitely a revenue stream with 3D,” he said.

Experts at CES Discuss Problems with Content Everywhere

January 8, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

LAS VEGAS — Pam Schechter, VP of business affairs for NBC Universal’s digital cable entertainment business, gets it: consumers want what they want when they want it.

That doesn’t make it realistic, or profitable, she said Jan. 7, speaking at the International Consumer Electronics Show.  “We have [content] windows to maximize revenue,” she said. “We understand the consumer wants to see content everywhere, but …”

But it creates problems for content companies, including BBC Worldwide, according to Beth Clearfield, the company’s SVP of digital, media and business development. When long-standing windows are challenged due to impatient consumers and digital piracy, what are content companies to do?

Click here to read the full story…

4K Content Picks Up

January 7, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

LAS VEGAS — The early knock on the Ultra HD (UHD) ecosystem has been that there’s a lack of content. Several companies are working to change that.

Amid the many Ultra HD TV unveilings at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Jan. 6 were several 4K content announcements, from consumer electronics companies, content services and studios.

Samsung may have made the biggest splash, announcing 4K content streaming partnerships with Amazon, Comcast Xfinity TV, DirecTV, M-Go and Netflix, with each service provider’s app expected to stream 4K content on Samsung UHD TVs.

Click here to read the complete story…

4K Content Picks Up

January 7, 2014 · Posted in M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

LAS VEGAS — The early knock on the Ultra HD (UHD) ecosystem has been that there’s a lack of content. Several companies are working to change that.

Amid the many Ultra HD TV unveilings at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Jan. 6 were several 4K content announcements, from consumer electronics companies, content services and studios.

Samsung may have made the biggest splash, announcing 4K content streaming partnerships with Amazon, Comcast Xfinity TV, DirecTV, M-Go and Netflix, with each service provider’s app expected to stream 4K content on Samsung UHD TVs.

“We will continue to work with global content partners and distribution channels to accelerate consumer adoption and access to UHD content,” said Kyungshik Lee, SVP of Samsung’s Service Strategy Team of Visual Display Business.

Samsung is also launching a UHD Video Pack, a 4K content hard drive pre-loaded with UHD content from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and Paramount Pictures. Samsung is expected to add a total of 50 titles available for download on the drive this year.

“This partnership with Samsung is one way our customers can stream shows and movies in 4K UHD, offering subscribers a glimpse of the television viewing experience of the future,” said Matt Strauss, SVP and GM of video services for Comcast. “Later this year, our new X1 set-top boxes will deliver 4K UHD content to all 4K UHD capable televisions.”

Amy Reinhard, EVP and GM of Paramount Home Media Distribution, called the Samsung UHD partnership “a terrific opportunity for consumers to truly experience the superior picture quality of UHD.” Paramount films on the drive at launch include Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, World War Z, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and Forrest Gump.

Meanwhile, Amazon, in addition to partnering with Samsung to deliver 4K content, is also working with Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox and Discovery to bring more 4K content to consumers. Amazon has already committed to producing all of its 2014 original series in 4K.

“There are a number of elements that need to work together to create a true 4K experience for customers — you need great content and compatible devices but you also need a service that can deliver that content to your devices so that it plays beautifully — we’re excited about making that a reality,” said Bill Carr, VP of digital video and music for Amazon.

Jim Packer, Lionsgate’s president of worldwide TV and digital distribution, added: “Ultra-high definition is the tip of the iceberg in underscoring the potential for new technologies to enrich our library of great franchises and other premium content in the years to come.”

Panasonic announced it’s developing a video codec, compliant with the HEVC international standard, which can potentially deliver 4K content on low speed communications lines.

And Sony Electronics announced it will offer 4K content from Netflix on its UHD TVs, as well as 4K photo services from 500px and PlayMemories. The company’s Video Unlimited 4K download service now offers more than 140 movies and TV shows, including “Breaking Bad,” Elysium, After Earth and This Is the End.

“Couple our key industry partnerships with our group-wide collaboration and innovative technologies, and consumers will see Sony continues to lead, advance and enrich the 4K entertainment experience,” said Mike Lucas, SVP of Sony Electronics’ Home Entertainment and Sound Division.

Sony will also be providing technical support for 4K production of this year’s FIFA World Cup final in Brazil.

CES: Toshiba to use Samba TV Technology

January 6, 2014 · Posted in M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

LAS VEGAS — Toshiba will integrate Samba TV’s interactive software into its next set of HDTVs, making it easy for viewers to interact with content via a second screen, the companies announced at the International Consumer Electronics Show.

The integration of Samba TV’s technology will give Toshiba TV owners exclusive access to TV show clips and share them via social networks, access photos and Tweets from TV show sets, and vote live during reality shows.

“We’ve been working on this for a long time, and this was a pretty exciting development for us,” said Ashwin Navin, co-founder and CEO of Samba TV. “Toshiba has been at the forefront of a lot of innovations for the living room.

“What we’re able to do with the Toshiba set is allow broadcasters and advertisers to make their content more enhanced, improved from a user standpoint. More interactive, more engaging, more social. It creates a blank canvase for broadcasters to enhance the experience.”

Shows like American Idol could use the feature to allow users to vote with their remote.. Showtime viewers will be pointed to a one-click download option for their own second screen app, Showtime Sync. And shows from both A&E and The History Channel will be enhanced by the offering as well.

“Enabling multiscreen interactive TV addresses consumers’ changing media consumption behaviors and Toshiba sits at the forefront of this innovation,” said Scott Ramirez, VP of product marketing and development for Toshiba America’s Digital Products Division. “Our strategic relationship with Samba allows us to not only offer a seamless, interactive experience, but also bring additional content to our customers.”

CES: Toshiba to use Samba TV Technology

January 6, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

LAS VEGAS — Toshiba will integrate Samba TV’s interactive software into its next set of HDTVs, making it easy for viewers to interact with content via a second screen, the companies announced at the International Consumer Electronics Show. The integration of Samba TV’s technology will give Toshiba TV owners exclusive access to TV show clips and share them via social networks, access photos and Tweets from TV show sets, and vote live during reality shows.

Click here to read the complete story…

Technicolor Launches Virdata, Partners with IBM

January 3, 2014 · Posted in M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

At the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Paris-based Technicolor will debut Virdata, a new, cloud-based monitoring and analytics offering that provides businesses with machine-to-machine (M2M) and Internet of things (IoT) services.

Technicolor is teaming with IBM and its SoftLayer cloud service to show off several uses of Virdata at CES, including geo location, real-time and historical tablet data, tracking patient information with a heartbeat monitor and performance data in a connected vehicle. IBM acquired SoftLayer and its cloud computing technologies in mid-2013.

Technicolor will target consumer electronics, health, retail and other industries for Virdata’s services.

“Technicolor’s foray into services that enable businesses to conduct faster and more thorough analysis of big data and apply that information is a logical extension of our commitment to develop innovative solutions to address the expanding digital market and to leverage existing assets for scale or access to broader ecosystems,” said Vince Pizzica, senior EVP and president of corporate partnerships and ventures for Technicolor. “Employing these strategies, Virdata is working with IBM, the global leader in cloud, to bring an exciting new approach to IoT services”.

Virdata will operate as a “pay-as-you-go” solution, and functions under a cloud-agnostic architecture, Technicolor said. Current application partners include NexStep, a customer-care application, and Olea Sensor Networks, which develops intelligent sensors and analytic software.

Virdata is a member of the Smart TV Alliance and is working with academic research facilities at the University of California, Berkeley (for emerging, real-time, in-memory analytics stacks) and Ghent University in Belgium (for data analytics).

Technicolor Launches Virdata, Partners with IBM

January 3, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

At the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Paris-based Technicolor will debut Virdata, a new, cloud-based monitoring and analytics offering that provides businesses with machine-to-machine (M2M) and Internet of things (IoT) services.

Technicolor is teaming with IBM and its SoftLayer cloud service to show off several uses of Virdata at CES, including geo location, real-time and historical tablet data, tracking patient information with a heartbeat monitor and performance data in a connected vehicle. IBM acquired SoftLayer and its cloud computing technologies in mid-2013.

Technicolor will target consumer electronics, health, retail and other industries for Virdata’s services.

Click here to read the complete story…

Hightail Touts Security Tools

December 30, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

In mid-December, Forbes published a list of 10 must-have mobile apps as ranked by top business executives, and making that list was file sharing service Hightail, with Jim Joseph, president of Cohn & Wolfe North America, saying “I can’t imagine life without it.”

Joseph, a professor at New York University, said in the article that juggling the agency and teaching work makes it “almost impossible to keep up with the onslaught of creative presentations happening across the agency.”

Click here to read the complete story…

Hightail Touts Security Tools

December 30, 2013 · Posted in M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

In mid-December, Forbes published a list of 10 must-have mobile apps as ranked by top business executives, and making that list was file sharing service Hightail, with Jim Joseph, president of Cohn & Wolfe North America, saying “I can’t imagine life without it.”

Joseph, a professor at New York University, said in the article that juggling the agency and teaching work makes it “almost impossible to keep up with the onslaught of creative presentations happening across the agency.”

“Some of those files are huge, which is why one of my go-to apps is Hightail,” he wrote. “It allows me to quickly review and comment on complex presentations while I jump back and forth between my computer and mobile device. [The Hightail app] always picks up where I left off.”

Thyaga Vasudevan, director of product management at Hightail, said his company was thrilled Hightail made the Forbes list. Hightail’s combination of encryption technology (that protects data during storage and transit), along with its sharing tools (password protection, identity confirmation, expiration dates) have made it indispensible to businesses.

“We are excited to be included in a list that highlights our mobile app,” he said. “The Hightail mobile app for iOS allows users to access their content on the go, whether they are connected to the Internet or not.”

Vasudevan spoke briefly with the Media & Entertainment Services Alliances (MESA) about Hightail’s security tools and the ability for users to monitor activity.

MESA: Speak more to the flexibility of sharing controls (how some departments in an organization would need easier access). Can you offer an example of where/how this would be utilized?

Vasudevan: Hightail’s sharing controls give an account administrator the ability to manage how people within their organization share content. For example, if an admin wants to be sure all documents from the legal department of their organization are tracked for recipient downloads, they can apply a group-level policy for return receipts.

When someone in the legal department sends a document to a client or colleague, they will automatically get a return receipt, which means they’ll be notified by email when the document is downloaded. Similarly, an admin can enforce account-level policies for verification of recipient identity, password protection and file expiration dates. On the user side, these sharing controls help keep their content secure and protected with every shared document. By default, these controls are not enabled and the user can apply them as they want by checking boxes before they send a file.

An admin can also specify different sharing policies for users in various groups within an organization. By default, groups inherit the account-level policies, but an admin can override certain policies for the group if they want. As an example, if there is an “intern group” within an organization, they can set group-level policies that enforce password protection for every file sent from people within that group. This group will have both return receipts (account-level policy) and password protection (group-level policy) enforced on every file they share.

MESA: It may seem obvious, but can you offer some benefits to both whitelisting and blacklisting certain domains?

Vasudevan: The biggest benefit of whitelisting and blacklisting certain domains is to ensure content is secure and your organization prevents data loss.

By enforcing the domains the admin can be confident that corporate content shared through Hightail is only with users on trusted domains. Also, similar to all policies, this can be also enforced at an account or group level. Some customers protect their data by blacklisting domains of their competitors. Others enforce whitelisting to be more restrictive with who their users are collaborating with outside their organization.

For the latest on Hightail’s mobile app for iOS, visit: http://blog.hightail.com/work-offline-with-hightails-ios-app-update-2/.

For a video highlighting detailing Hightail’s mobile apps, visit vimeo.com/70567048.

To read more about managing and securing your company’s content with Hightail, please read more here.

MESA Names World-Renowned Economist Head of China/USA Initiative

December 23, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

The Media and Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) has appointed Dr. Demos Vardiabasis, Ph.D., a professor of International Business and Chairman of the Presidential Key Executive MBA Program at Pepperdine University, to serve as the Chairman of the newly formed MESA China Entertainment Technology Alliance.

“As world attention turns to China with its growing and seemingly insatiable market for entertainment and technology, this role is more critical than ever in bridging the communication gap between the two countries,” observed Devendra Mishra, MESA Chief Strategist.

An international business expert, Dr. Vardiabasis brings an extraordinary understanding of building business relationships in China. His  plan is to organize meetings of delegates in both countries, consisting primarily of business executives and government officials, and Hollywood-related companies.

Click here to read the complete story…

CBS Interactive Exec, Rob Gelick, to Keynote the 2nd Screen Summit at CES, Jan 6

December 20, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

Rob Gelick, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Digital Platforms, CBS Interactive, one of the second screen’s biggest broadcast innovators, has been named a keynote speaker at the second annual 2nd Screen Summit at International CES in Las Vegas on January 6 at the Treasure Island Hotel.

Gelick joins fellow-keynoter Allen Devoise, Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of Michinima on this official International CES program that also includes speakers from Fox, Showtime, NFL, Dish Network, Ogilvy and others.

Driven by millennial viewing behavior and a surge in online video advertising, second screen viewing experiences have accelerated greatly in recent months, driving content creators to adapt their user experiences to support both companion and viewing experiences. Gelick will talk through the incredible pace of change over the past year, resulting in the convergence of companion and viewing experiences into a single app for all CBS Entertainment programming.

Click here to read the full story…

IBM to Acquire Aspera

December 19, 2013 · Posted in M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

In the last five years IBM has invested more than $16 billion in more than 30 analytics acquisitions. But the tech giant believes it’s found something special in Emeryville, Calif.-based Aspera.

IBM announced Dec. 19 it would acquire the Emmy-winning company during the first quarter of 2014.

“The amount of data that’s being created today, every day, is phenomenal,” said Jeanette Barlow, program director of IBM’s smarter commerce product management. “The insight we’re going to help organizations get from [the acquisition] can really transform their businesses, their value chains, and the ways they can be responsive to customers and clients.

“Big data is, well, big, and you have to be able to get it from point A to point B, or points B, C and D, in an efficient way, and this is where Aspera compliments the investments we’ve already made, by providing the fastest, secure, highly predictable ways to transfer that data across the network and up to the cloud.”

Aspera — which counts Netflix, Universal, Civolution, Deluxe and DirecTV among its many clients — touts that its patented large file transfer technology bumps up the secure transfer of large files and collections of files by nearly 100%. A 26-hour transmission of a 24 GB file can be sent halfway around the world in less than a minute.

“Our team has redefined how the world’s biggest data can be moved quickly, securely and reliably around the world,” said Michelle Munson, president and co-founder of Aspera. “By tapping into IBM’s innovative capabilities and global resources, we will solve ever expanding data movement challenges for our customers now and in the future.”

Aspera’s technology has proven especially fruitful for media companies, who can shorten production cycles and upload content to streaming services faster, and gaming companies, which have utilized it to get their hands on third-party software to enable faster game development.

“It feels more real-time than it ever has before, and if you look at their customer list, there are many in the media and entertainment space, organizations like Netflix and studios, that take advantage of this, where the transfer doesn’t degrade the user experience,” Barlow said.

She added that the acquisition builds on IBM’s “Smarter Commerce” and “Managed File Transfer” initiatives, allowing businesses to accelerate their digital supply chains.

“There are challenges in moving large data sets from one part of the world to another,” she said. “This is a distance neutral transfer solution, that [allows clients to] take advantage of a global value chain, without the traditional bottlenecks, and let’s organizations seriously look at cloud computing for data-intensive workloads, ingesting that data up to the cloud, and using Aspera, do that far more efficiently.”

IBM to Acquire Aspera

December 19, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

In the last five years IBM has invested more than $16 billion in more than 30 analytics acquisitions. But the tech giant believes it’s found something special in Emeryville, Calif.-based Aspera.

IBM announced Dec. 19 it would acquire the Emmy-winning company during the first quarter of 2014.

“The amount of data that’s being created today, every day, is phenomenal,” said Jeanette Barlow, program director of IBM’s smarter commerce product management. “The insight we’re going to help organizations get from [the acquisition] can really transform their businesses, their value chains, and the ways they can be responsive to customers and clients.

Click here to read the full story…

L.E.K.’s Frack Shares Piracy Estimates

December 18, 2013 · Posted in M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Bill Frack, managing director of L.E.K. Consulting, has both good news and bad news for the media and entertainment industry.

His firm estimates there are 42 million people in the U.S. who pirate content, amounting to a billion pieces of content that are being illegally viewed. The good news? Nearly 95% of those people pay for content as well.

“One of the key things to being successful is understanding your customer, and to understand this problem, you have to know the customer,” Frack said, speaking at the recent Content Protection Summit, produced by the Content Delivery & Security Association.

Those who steal content can be broken down into segments, Frack said: they may be sensitive to the cost associated with purchasing what they want, or they may want to just build up their library of content. There are those who don’t think stealing content is wrong, but there are also those who do it simply because it’s convenient. There are hard-core content enthusiasts who’ll do whatever it takes to get what they want. And there are those who just do it on occasion.

“These segments … vary on the number of movies they watch,” he said. “They vary by their motivations.”

A cost-sensitive pirate may be part of a low-income family and “who may not have enough income” to get what they want, Frack noted. They may not like stealing, and they tend to give up more easily when confronted with barriers to pirating content.

They’re night and day different from people like the library builders: young, urban professionals who grab what they can because they can, not because they can’t afford it.

What may have been most frightening among L.E.K.’s findings was the 36% who responded in the affirmative that piracy was “no big deal,” a younger set of “consumers” who look at it as the norm, want it now, don’t feel guilty and basically say “why not?” “The irony is, it’s a very big deal,” Frack said. “The question for the industry is when they get older, get money, will they move over? The [results of the] music industry says don’t bet on it.”

Content owners and distributors won’t be able to convert everyone in those groups into legitimate consumers, but there are a number of things media and entertainment companies can do, Frack said. Protect what you own the best ways you can, while keeping a content pirate’s motivations in mind when offering content legitimately. Many occasional and convenience pirates won’t spend more than a minute fighting security measures to get something.

“As you think about your strategies, whether they be anti-piracy tactics or new services, you’ll find convenience comes into play,” he said. “Pirates are people like us. They’re not Jack Sparrow. They’re regular movie fans.”

Frack’s data — while certainly disconcerting for anyone in the business of being paid for their work — has some humor behind it. Instead of focus groups, L.E.K. started with one on one interviews with those who steal content, and from that conducted their survey.

“You get pirates in the room, it’s a very strange dynamic,” Frack said. “They start swapping secrets with each other on how to bypass the latest technology.”

L.E.K.’s Frack Shares Piracy Estimates

December 18, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Bill Frack, managing director of L.E.K. Consulting, has both good news and bad news for the media and entertainment industry. His firm estimates there are 42 million people in the U.S. who pirate content, amounting to a billion pieces of content that are being illegally viewed. The good news? Nearly 95% of those people pay for content as well.

“One of the key things to being successful is understanding your customer, and to understand this problem, you have to know the customer,” Frack said, speaking at the recent Content Protection Summit, produced by the Content Delivery & Security Association.

Click here to read the full story…

EY Identifies Future Trends of TV

December 17, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Howard Bass, leader of global media and entertainment advisory services for Ernst & Young, is well aware the TV industry is facing major changes in the monetization and storytelling across new channels, platforms and devices.

His suggestion to media and entertainment companies?

“Our message is to embrace this, don’t be afraid of it, it’s here. Optimize it,” Bass said, discussing the results of a Dec. 17 report from E&Y that tackles the ongoing trends transforming the way TV is delivered and consumed.

The “Future of Television” report — which came about following an analysis of thousands of hours of interviews with executives from media and entertainment companies worldwide — identifies a half-dozen trends that the industry needs to prepare for, from digital supply chain management to telling stories across multiple platforms.

Click here to read the full article…

Analyst: Netflix Closing in on Growth Ceiling; Franchise Movies top Streaming List

December 16, 2013 · Posted in M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Netflix has more than 40 million subscribers worldwide and its stock closed at nearly $369 Dec. 13. But according to Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter, the streaming company may have reached its limit.

In a Dec. 16 note to investors, Pachter acknowledged that Netflix is unlikely to lose any subscribers at its current $8-a-month price point, but if the company were to raise prices, the company would both lose subscribers and face higher content fees from studios, he said.

“If Netflix were to become wildly profitable, we would expect content providers to seek higher fees for content, in a manner similar to movie studio deals with theatrical exhibitors,” Pachter wrote. “The studios share in ticket sales, irrespective of ticket price, although minimums are set for film rent. We think that Netflix’s current content deals reflect minimums, and believe that if Netflix were to increase prices, content costs would rise in lock step.”

Pachter offered a hypothetical: if Netflix were to raise its prices $4 a month per subscriber, its quarterly profit would be $22 a share, based on third quarter numbers. The company’s current stock valuation is nearly 17 times that hypothetical figure, Pachter estimates. And Pachter points to an October Wedbush survey that shows 79% of subscribers saying they would not accept any price increase from Netflix.

“Notwithstanding their protestation, we think that fewer than 25% would actually quit if prices were raised,” Pachter wrote. “We cannot say the same for content providers.”

In other Netflix news, data from The NPD Group shows franchise movies are the most-streamed content on the subscription VOD services, with The Hunger Games and The Avengers being the top two titles.

“It’s not surprising that big box office hits do well with the SVOD audience,” said Russ Crupnick, SVP of industry analysis for NPD. “With The Hunger Games, The Avengers and other franchise titles, there’s the added sweetener of introducing new audiences to the franchises and improving box office receipts.”

The top three TV series streamed this year on Netflix and other subscription VOD services were “Breaking Bad,” “How I Met Your Mother” and “The Walking Dead,” according to NPD data. Crupnick added that original Netflix series are proving especially popular with subscribers, with 11% streaming at least one episode of “Arrested Development” per week in the six weeks following its release.

“SVOD has been shaking up the home video market, since it was introduced in 2007,” Crupnick said. “Today, one out of four U.S. consumers who acquired a movie or TV show through subscription, rental or purchase in the first-half of this year did so using SVOD.”

And when Netflix users start a series, they don’t stop: a Dec. 13 Harris Interactive survey commissioned by Netflix found 61% of streaming customers regularly binge watch TV series.

Finally, Netflix announced Dec. 16 that it would have exclusive streaming rights to the first season of the “Breaking Bad” spin-off “Better Call Saul” after it finishes airing on AMC in 2014. Netflix subscribers in Europe and Latin America will see the series after it airs in the U.S.

“’Breaking Bad’ is widely recognized as one of the great TV experiences in this new golden age of television,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer. “It has also proven very popular with Netflix subscribers around the world. This spin-off promises to continue its tradition of powerful storytelling. We are proud to be in business with Sony PicturesTelevision to bring Saul Goodman to our subscribers around the world.”

Analyst: Netflix Closing in on Growth Ceiling; Franchise Movies top Streaming List

December 16, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Netflix has more than 40 million subscribers worldwide and its stock closed at nearly $369 Dec. 13. But according to Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter, the streaming company may have reached its limit.

In a Dec. 16 note to investors, Pachter acknowledged that Netflix is unlikely to lose any subscribers at its current $8-a-month price point, but if the company were to raise prices, the company would both lose subscribers and face higher content fees from studios, he said.

“If Netflix were to become wildly profitable, we would expect content providers to seek higher fees for content, in a manner similar to movie studio deals with theatrical exhibitors,” Pachter wrote. “The studios share in ticket sales, irrespective of ticket price, although minimums are set for film rent. We think that Netflix’s current content deals reflect minimums, and believe that if Netflix were to increase prices, content costs would rise in lock step.”

Click here to read the complete article…

Sheraks Share Piracy Views at CDSA Content Protection Summit

December 13, 2013 · Posted in M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Film producer Tom Sherak (The One, Rent) was recently named “film czar” for the city of Los Angeles, and charged with putting a stop to runaway production costs for films and TV shows made here.

But, speaking Dec. 12 at the Content Delivery & Storage Association’s Content Protection Summit, he doesn’t see that as the No. 1 problem the industry needs to deal with.

“I actually see piracy as a much bigger issue,” he said. “The things we are doing trying to protect [content] are expensive and have to be done, but piracy has become ingrained in the younger generation. [They believe] that content is not owned. It’s theirs.”

A former president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Sherak noted that even with all the watermarking and security surrounding content, it only takes one slip-up (an unscrupulous employee, an unthinking family member) for a screener to be put up online, and ruin things.

“It hurts people, it hurts jobs,” he said. “You can’t give stuff away. You have to have stronger laws here. … You have to be tough about it. It’s hard to be tough about it. And here’s the problem: It’s not going to stop. I don’t know if we can educate them enough that it’s stealing.”

The messaging, the PSAs running before movies, may not be having any impact, he said. Stronger laws may be the only way to go with the public at large. Though in the industry, messaging goes a lot farther when someone’s job is at stake.

Sherak’s son William, president of Stereo D, a 2D-to-3D conversion company (owned by Deluxe), said his company takes a number of measures to prevent leaks when dealing with studio content entrusted to his company.

“It’s a multi-, multi-million dollar extravaganza to follow the [Motion Picture Association of America] protocols and all the studio protocols to make sure not only content, but data of all kinds lives in a secure environment from facility to facility, and the transfer of that content to and from the studios that give it to us.

“It’s a laundry list of practices for physical protection as well as the data protection,” he said. “It’s an annual look at it as well as day to day, making sure you follow best practices. It’s the thing that keeps us up at night, every night: what happens to that image if it gets out of our facility?”

Last summer Stereo D was working on a “little movie” called The Avengers, and the very first content delivery sent by Marvel included a shot of the heroes from the movie, William Sherak said. “You sit there and go, ‘Oh my God, this is the shot the whole world wants to see,’” he said. “And now it’s sitting in my facility, with thousands of artists. How do you make sure nobody sees it? It’s not just the movie, it’s every single frame.”

Vendors don’t get to charge for security, he added. That’s just an added given of the job companies like Stereo D need to take on when they sign up for the work.

The average age of his employees is under 30, and they have it hammered into their heads the consequences of letting content out into the world, he said.

“Once it’s out there, the sharing of it, there’s just no thought,” he said. “You can do things with security practice, no cell phones, no Internet connections on the computers, but at the end of the day, if somebody wants to steal it, how do you protect from that? It’s an education process … but the problem right now is no law is being written. It’s best practices.”

Tom Sherak says that vendors and studios alike need to treat their technology departments as their best friends, and follow all the rules they lay down. That’s the best thing they can do to keep their content under wraps.

“Once it’s out there, it’s gone,” he said. “The Internet is so wonderful, and so big. And it’s creating whole new ways to [facilitate] stealing.”

Sheraks Share Piracy Views at CDSA Content Protection Summit

December 13, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Film producer Tom Sherak (The One, Rent) was recently named “film czar” for the city of Los Angeles, and charged with putting a stop to runaway production costs for films and TV shows made here.

But, speaking Dec. 12 at the Content Delivery & Storage Association’s Content Protection Summit, he doesn’t see that as the No. 1 problem the industry needs to deal with.

“I actually see piracy as a much bigger issue,” he said. “The things we are doing trying to protect [content] are expensive and have to be done, but piracy has become ingrained in the younger generation. [They believe] that content is not owned. It’s theirs.”

Click here to read the full story…

Hurd at Content Protection Summit: Google, Corporations Can Help Stop Piracy

December 12, 2013 · Posted in M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Gale Anne Hurd, executive producer of “The Walking Dead,” can understand how easy it is for consumers to illegally access copyright-protected content. She’s almost done it herself.

The devout fan of the English Premier League’s Arsenal Football Club once found herself unwittingly on an illegal sports streaming site, entering her credit card information to watch her team live. “The only thing that stopped me from being an illegal downloader is it didn’t work on an iPad,” she said Dec. 12 at the Content Protection Summit (CPS), produced by the Content Delivery and Storage Association (CDSA).

Hurd gets it, but that doesn’t mean she excuses it. She said fans of her work who stream or download illegally hurt the very products they love, pointing to how the season four premiere of “The Walking Dead” in October was illegally downloaded more than 500,000 times in less than 24 hours.

“The good news is that’s not most of our fans,” she said. “I don’t think they’re saying ‘I’m going to find an illegal download site.’ [But] I do what I can to encourage our fans to keep us in business. We can’t continue to create it if nobody’s going to pay for it.” It’s a hard line to walk, she admitted. Content creators want fans to pay, without alienating them.

Part of the problem, she said, lies in the enablement of these illegal sites. Google can block child porn and malware, but let’s illegal streaming sites show up all the time. And Fortune 500 companies aren’t doing their part, by continuing to allow their advertising to appear on those sites, she said.

“They have to believe it’s in their best interests [to stop], that it’s going to hurt their bottom line,” she said. “[But] right now they’re profiting off it.”

And Hurd isn’t one of those people who believe a little piracy actually helps a product. The Hurt Locker was downloaded approximately 10 million times, about 2 million more than the number of box office tickets sold, she said. There’s nothing good about that.

“I don’t buy into the philosophy that piracy helps [the business],” she said. “It creates a habit and I don’t think it’s something we should encourage.

“We have to craft a message … [and] it needs to be a relatable message that people understand. The fact it’s called file sharing [doesn’t help]. Maybe if it was called file stealing, people would understand the consequences.”

The least Hurd can do is start small: she said she caught her daughter downloading music without paying for it, and immediately confronted the “so what?” attitude she received.

“’Do you still want to be clothed and fed?’” was Hurd’s response.

Hurd at Content Protection Summit: Google, Corporations Can Help Stop Piracy

December 12, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Gale Anne Hurd, executive producer of “The Walking Dead,” can understand how easy it is for consumers to illegally access copyright-protected content. She’s almost done it herself.

The devout fan of the English Premier League’s Arsenal Football Club once found herself unwittingly on an illegal sports streaming site, entering her credit card information to watch her team live. “The only thing that stopped me from being an illegal downloader is it didn’t work on an iPad,” she said Dec. 12 at the Content Protection Summit (CPS), a day-long affair produced by the Content Delivery and Storage Association (CDSA).

Hurd gets it, but that doesn’t mean she excuses it. She said fans of her work who stream or download illegally hurt the very products they love, pointing to how the season four premiere of “The Walking Dead” in October was illegally downloaded more than 500,000 times in less than 24 hours.

Click here to read the full story…

PricewaterhouseCoopers: Consumers Are in Control

December 11, 2013 · Posted in M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

The content consumer is in charge today, according to Blake White, director and advisory of entertainment, media and communication for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Just look at the numbers.

“All the research we have tends to indicate the global market is in favor of greater digital distribution direct to the viewer,” he said Dec. 10, speaking at the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance Forecast: Hollywood event. “The evolution of the technology itself, specifically high-speed Internet, means that consumer have not only more control, they expect more, and they expect it right away.”

The global subscription TV industry is expected to grow from $171 billion in 2012 to $212 billion in 2017. Over-the-top (OTT) video outpaced VOD in spending dollars for the first time in 2012, and isn’t looking back ($11 billion OTT in the U.S. by 2017). And this year mobile Internet spending is expected to outpace fixed broadband spending for the first time ever.

PwC’s data estimates global entertainment and media revenues of $2.2 trillion by 2017, up from $1.6 trillion in 2012.

Traditional media may be the “bread and butter” of the industry today in terms of revenue, White said, but digital will account for 87% of the growth in spending in the entertainment and media industries between now and 2017 (and 40% of the market overall by 2017).

“You have that kind of growth, and that kind of transition going on, that clearly concentrates the minds of the industry, focuses the businesses’ attention on how to produce this kind of content, and even more importantly, how to monetize it,” he said.

TV, online and OTT ad spending will go from approximately $64 billion at the end of 2012 to nearly $82 billion in 2017, with mobile and online ad spending remaining a fraction of overall spending, but growing fast.

PwC conducted a recent consumer survey, which found that 70% of respondents were subscribing to a traditional pay TV package, saying those services do provide something unique. However, more and more (66% now) are accessing content via the Internet, with Netflix the No. 1 service at 63% (TV networks’ sites came in second at 49%, Hulu third at 35%).

And if they don’t have a pay TV service, 64% said online was the first place they’d hunt down content they want (compared to only 6% going by suggestions of their peers).

“Most of the people we interviewed had more than one video subscription,” White noted. “There are certain younger consumers who are bypassing traditional subscriptions. We call them ‘cord nevers.’”

Eighty-eight percent watch what they know while 45% channel surf to see what’s out there, PwC research shows. Sixty-three percent said original programming was important when choosing a service.

For time-shifted viewing, 57% said they record their shows for later viewing. “They said they had no time for real time,” White said. In the second screen area, 56% said they use a mobile device while watching a show.

As for all the talk out there about the potential of a la carte pay TV services (something already being offered in places like Canada), White shared data showing that 65% of all respondents would pick 10 or more channels to add to their service. That number jumps to 73% with the 50-59 demographic. And $2.99 per channel was the greatest percentage (62%) of respondents said they would pay. Per show? Seventy-two percent said they would pay $1.99 per show per month (2% said they would pay $8 or more).

Eight of 10 respondents who preferred to customize their pay TV selection were willing to watch ads, with younger viewers specifically wanting to know how much they’d save off their fees in exchange for watching ads. “The kind of older group, 34-59, mostly felt watching ads is not worth it,” White said.

He said the takeaway from the research is that original programming and customization make pay TV more attractive, and that pushing live events, like sports, to multiple devices, only makes services more attractive.

“Without totally disrupting your business model, what consumers are asking for is to feel more empowered with the choices they’re given,” White said. “That’s what they want.”

PricewaterhouseCoopers: Consumers Are in Control

December 11, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

The content consumer is in charge today, according to Blake White, director and advisory of entertainment, media and communication for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Just look at the numbers.

“All the research we have tends to indicate the global market is in favor of greater digital distribution direct to the viewer,” he said Dec. 10, speaking at the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance Forecast: Hollywood event. “The evolution of the technology itself, specifically high-speed Internet, means that consumer have not only more control, they expect more, and they expect it right away.”

Click here to read the complete story…

Forecast Hollywood Speaker: Content, Tech Industries Must Adapt or Be Left Behind

December 10, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — It may come as a shock to some, but the media and entertainment industry is already past the digital era, according to Laurie Hutto-Hill, North American media and entertainment industry leader for IBM Consulting.

“We moved from the physical era, past the digital, straight to the connected consumer era,” she said, speaking Dec. 10 at the Forecast: Hollywood analysts event. “It’s a special place and a special time for the industry. The only constant is change. How do we stay relevant?”

Just from the studio perspective — where all they once had to worry about was physical distribution — the changes have been enormous, she added. Today a full half of all consumers are watching video daily or weekly on digital devices, and connected home revenue is expected to push a massive $231 billion in revenue by 2016.

Just in the last decade or so the industry has gone from physical, to DVRs, to Internet video, to individual personalized ads, all in what seems like a blink, Hutto-Hill said. “Who would have thought our 80-year-old grandparents would be using [Internet video technology] now?” she said. “We’re never disconnected.”

It’s going to take 46 exabytes of storage to handle all content digitization and preservation by 2015 (“We used to think a terabyte was a lot of storage,” Hutto-Hill said, smiling). She said the next 3-5 years especially will see a massive shift in mobile, social and online advertising, vs. today’s largely physical ad world.

Content owners, distributors and the tech companies must continue giving consumers what they want, when they want it (think HBO Go and other TV Everywhere apps), no matter how disruptive those technologies may be, Hutto-Hill said.

Studios are already doing a great job addressing the changes in consumers’ access, even starting before a movie begins its theatrical window, she said. And increasingly content owners are “tailoring the experience, to be sure to give them what they want,” she said.

Studios are beginning to want consumers sentiment, ahead of a film’s release, she added, “and that’s been very successful,” not only for box office tracking, but for future planning for other releases.

Guy Finley, executive director of the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance, said the Forecast: Hollywood event was a chance for members of every part of the industry — movies, TV, home entertainment and digital — to get several, data-specific insights.

“This certainly is not a lean back event,” he said.

Time Warner Cable COO: OTT Video Not as Strong as Cable

December 10, 2013 · Posted in M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Rob Marcus, chief operating officer for Time Warner Cable, isn’t saying online video doesn’t have its place in the world. It just hasn’t proven to be a suitable substitute for the amount and quality of content available on cable or satellite, he said.

“And we’ve said this before we view the over the top video experience as the killer app that highlights the value of our broadband offering,” Marcus said, speaking at the UBS Global Media & Communications Conference. “I think broadband usage has increased in our footprint by about 40% year-over-year, continues to highlight the value of what it is we’re offering. So overall, we continue to view the online video viewing as a positive for the broadband business.”

Marcus said Time Warner is looking at the potential of making some online services available via its set-top boxes, in order to “scratch that itch the customers have.”

“So, interestingly, when TWC TV is available on the Roku, it’s sitting right next to Netflix,” he said. “So the customer really has access to all of the services that they may enjoy, which I think is the right solution for customers.”

Marcus said Time Warner is working to avoid having customers cut their cable service by offering more promotions, and adding customers by targeting those who currently have DSL service and are unsatisified with what they’re getting.

“Those are customers waiting to be picked off,” he said.

He added that Time Warner is upgrading its TV Everywhere app, which is now on five platforms: iOS, Android, Roku, Samsung Smart TV and Xbox, and offers approximately 300 live linear channels and 5,000 hours of VOD.

But programming costs remain a concern for Time Warner’s residential video, he noted. “[But] we’re getting some cost savings benefits from things like our TWC reorganization, [and] by centralizing, by eliminating some duplication, we’ve been able to improve our cost structure,” he said.

Time Warner Cable COO: OTT Video Not as Strong as Cable

December 10, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Rob Marcus, chief operating officer for Time Warner Cable, isn’t saying online video doesn’t have its place in the world. It just hasn’t proven to be a suitable substitute for the amount and quality of content available on cable or satellite, he said.

“And we’ve said this before we view the over the top video experience as the killer app that highlights the value of our broadband offering,” Marcus said, speaking at the UBS Global Media & Communications Conference.

Click here to read more…

CES Preview: Ultra High-Def Takes Over

December 9, 2013 · Posted in M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Move aside, 3DTV. You had your time.

The darling of the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in years past is largely absent in the discussion and schedule for the 2014 event, being held Jan. 7-10 in Las Vegas.

Instead, it’s all about Ultra High-Def, which had its unveiling at the 2013 show. With more 4K content being produced, the consumer price for Ultra HD sets dropping dramatically, and more consumer electronics companies getting into the game, Ultra HD is front and center at the 2014 CES.

“The Ultra HD market is on the rise with increased technology, content and consumer accessibility,” said Karen Chupka, SVP of the CES and corporate business strategy for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), in a statement. “With more sets and content in the market, we’re eager to see the ground-breaking Ultra HD technologies across the 2014 CES show floor.

“Our show helped drive market adoption of major home video entertainment technologies including HDTV, OLED and smart TVs. We are proud to continue this tradition as we shine the bright CES spotlight on the next great breakthrough in consumer video technology — Ultra HD.”

Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, LG, Toshiba, Sharp and Hisense are among the CE companies that will emphasize Ultra HD at the show, with CEA forecasting 450,000 Ultra HD shipments in 2014, an eightfold increase over 2013.

Ultra HD will be the hot topic among keynote speakers, as well as individual conference tracks, starting Jan. 6 at noon with “The State of TVs: What to Expect from the 2014 Slate” (Las Vegas Convention Center, Hall N250). Steve  Koenig, director of industry analysis for CEA, will lead a discussion looking at the potential impact of Ultra HD and curved OLEDs for the TV market overall.

“Fool Me Once; Fool Me Twice. Lessons Learned on 4K” will take place Jan. 6 from 4-5 p.m. (LVCC, North Hall N256), with Greg  DePriest, partner with Special Projects LLC and Dan  Holden, fellow with Comcast Labs, discussing the 4K market and ecosystem.

On Jan. 7 at 11 a.m., Tom Cosgrove, president and CEO of 3net Studios, Chris  Cookson, president of Sony Pictures Technologies and Tony  Werner, EVP and CTO of Comcast Cable, will discuss the content market for Ultra HD, on disc as well as streaming, in the panel “Ultra HD Content: What Will We Watch in 2014 and Beyond?” (LVCC, North Hall N259).

“Cutting-Edge TV: What Technologies Will Shape the Future?” takes place Jan. 9 at 9:30 a.m. (LVCC, North Hall N261) with consumer electronics company reps talking about Ultra HD’s place among plasma, LCD and OLED technologies. Paul  Gagnon, director of North American TV research for DisplaySearch, Dave Das, VP of home entertainment for Samsung Electronics America, Tim Alessi, director of new product development for LG Electronics USA, Mike Lucas, SVP of Sony Electronics Home Division and Steven Abramson, president and CEO for Universal Display, will be on the panel.

Jan. 9 at 11 a.m. sees “4K, UHD and 3D: The Premium Experience Comes Home” (LVCC, North Hall N264) with Henry Derovanessian, SVP of engineering for DirecTV, 3net’s Cosgrove and Phil  McKinney, president of CableLabs discussing 4K content production both domestic and abroad.

Lastly, Jan. 9 at 1:50 p.m. there’s “The UHD Revolution” (LVCC, North Hall N264), which will tackle both the consumer perspective of Ultra HD and the production workflow needed for 4K content. William  Foote, director of DTV technology and standards for Samsung Electronics America, Pete Lude, UHD consultant for the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, Ron Martin, VP of the Content Solutions Center at Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory, Scott Mirer, director of partner services for Netflix, Tom Morrod , senior principal analyst of TV Technology for HIS, Grant Anderson, executive director of the Sony 3D Technology Center, and Roland Vlaicu, senior director of Broadcast Imaging for Dolby are scheduled to discuss.

CES Preview: Ultra High-Def Takes Over

December 9, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Move aside, 3DTV. You had your time.

The darling of the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in years past is largely absent in the discussion and schedule for the 2014 event, being held Jan. 7-10 in Las Vegas. Instead, it’s all about Ultra High-Def, which had its unveiling at the 2013 show. With more 4K content being produced, the consumer price for Ultra HD sets dropping dramatically, and more consumer electronics companies getting into the game, Ultra HD is front and center at the 2014 CES.

Click here to read the full story…

Industry Trust Touts Copyright Protection Progress

December 6, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

The U.K.’s Industry Trust for IP Awareness is prepping new projects for 2014 that aim to bolster awareness of copyrights and what goes into producing content, Trust executives said during their annual meeting Dec. 5. The Trust will launch an intellectual property campaign with Film Nation U.K. in January, aiming to engage more than 2 million young people with first-hand movie-making experiences “to encourage respect for creativity.”

While the vast majority of people going online are prepared to pay for content in principle, in practice infringing digital services can seem temptingly convenient – and where older audiences are concerned, confusion about what is and isn’t legal is rife,” said Liz Bales, director-general of the Industry Trust for IP Awareness.

Click here to read the full story…

Industry Trust Touts Copyright Protection Progress

December 6, 2013 · Posted in M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

The U.K.’s Industry Trust for IP Awareness is prepping new projects for 2014 that aim to bolster awareness of copyrights and what goes into producing content, Trust executives said during their annual meeting Dec. 5.

The Trust will launch an intellectual property campaign with Film Nation U.K. in January, aiming to engage more than 2 million young people with first-hand movie-making experiences “to encourage respect for creativity.”

“While the vast majority of people going online are prepared to pay for content in principle, in practice infringing digital services can seem temptingly convenient – and where older audiences are concerned, confusion about what is and isn’t legal is rife,” said Liz Bales, director-general of the Industry Trust for IP Awareness. “As an industry we must support people in making legal choices at this critical stage. Copyright education campaigns enable us to make a positive intervention in people’s journey online, inspiring them to respect IP and steering them towards legal content providers.”

According to research firm Sandtable, approximately 15 million additional consumers set to start streaming or downloading film online by the end of 2015. The Industry Trust is trying to point those consumers to legitimate sources of content, like the U.K.’s FindAnyFilm.com. One of those efforts involved the “Moments Worth Paying For” campaign, a series of previews before a film that profile the people who created the movie.

“The result is a compelling trailer series that capitalizes on the year’s biggest titles, from Iron Man 3 to Despicable Me 2, to inspire film fans of all ages to respect the entertainment value of film and the social currency of shared viewing experiences,” said Phil Clapp, CEO of the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association

Independent research from ICM tracked the impact of the “Moments Worth Paying For” trailers, and viewers exposed to the campaign were up to twice as likely to pay for content as those who didn’t see the previews.

“We have been working in partnership with some of the most popular online destinations for film fans to embed the FindAnyFilm discovery buttons all over the Internet,” Bales said. “The approach is a win for the consumer, making buying more convenient, and a win for our industry because it circumnavigates the need for internet search and therefore reduces people’s exposure to infringing sites.”

Analyst: New CDN A Boon for Netflix

December 6, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Now that Netflix’s own content delivery network (CDN) is up and running, the company should see substantial savings now that it doesn’t have to pay service fees to third-party CDNs going forward, according to an analyst report. The report from Zacks Investment Research notes that Open Connect is a single purpose video CDN, directly connecting Netflix’s video library to Internet service providers (ISPs), allowing for seamless and faster data transfer.

Some ISPs, including Cablevision, have latched on to the platform, while others, including Time Warner Cable, have resisted, saying the use of Open Connect would amount to special treatment for Netflix over other services.

Click here to read the full story…

Forecast: Hollywood Event will be Data Central

December 5, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Trbbey

The industry’s top analysts will all be in one room Dec. 10 when the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance hosts Forecast: Hollywood at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Blake White, director of entertainment, media and communication for PricewaterhouseCoopers, will kick things off with his firm’s research on consumer video content consumption, paired with a five-year forecast covering consumer spending and potential ad revenue for movie and TV content. His presentation will cover what devices consumers are using, what pay TV packages they want, and how willing they are to watch ads in lieu of paying fees.

Next will be a panel focusing on the future of film, TV and home entertainment, with Jim Bottoms, executive director of MESA Europe, leading the discussion. He’ll be joined by Mark Kirstein, president of entertainment for The NPD Group and Ben Spergel, SVP of TV strategy for Interpret, who’ll share data on how consumers are getting their content, in what formats and on which devices.

Spergel will be offering insights from the firm’s New Media Measure Survey, specifically “the internet is not really ‘taking over’ traditional TV viewing and how digital and on demand viewing is still a relatively small piece of the overall consumption of TV.”

“It may actually be helping traditional linear viewing,” he said. “[We’ll offer] some examples of shows that demonstrate that this new consumption model has actually helped create successful programming and has allowed some types of content to be more successful over the long term.”

A panel forecasting second screen, multiscreen and over-the-top content revenue streams will wrap the day, with a focus on what the increase in mobile and tablet video usage means for industry players.

Chuck Parker, chairman of the 2nd Screen Society, will moderate the session, which features Tom Adams, senior principal analyst of U.S. media for IHS Screen Digest, David Mercer, VP and principal analyst for Strategy Analytics, and Sandra Susino, associate partner for media and entertainment for IBM Global Business Services.

Mercer said his data will be a mix of new consumer research on OTT and multiscreen behavior, as well as industry forecasts.

“Our latest ethnographic studies identify major shifts in home-based and mobile video consumption patterns which of course are linked to the rapidly changing device landscape,” he said. “It won’t come as a huge surprise that the tablet lies at the heart of many of these changes.

“In terms of forecasts we’ll be looking at the overall multiscreen landscape and presenting the revenue opportunities and models which we see as being critical to content players.”

For registration information, visit mesalliance.org/events/forecast2014/.

Visual Unity Executive: Internet is Forcing Hollywood’s Hand

December 5, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

A full quarter of worldwide, online video traffic is of the illegal variety, according to Gabriel Dusil chief marketing and corporate strategy officer for digital video company Visual Unity, and that number is likely to increase.

Speaking during a presentation Dec. 5 about the state of the entertainment industry in the digital world, said this loss of control isn’t surprising, considering what many of today’s consumers were raised with. From VHS to DVD to Blu-ray Disc, they’ve been asked to buy the same product over and over.

The digital age has changed that, making it easier for consumers to get what they want, when they want it. And if they can get it for free, more likely than not they’ll try.

Click to read more….

Visual Unity Executive: Internet is Forcing Hollywood’s Hand

December 5, 2013 · Posted in M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

A full quarter of worldwide, online video traffic is of the illegal variety, according to Gabriel Dusil chief marketing and corporate strategy officer for digital video company Visual Unity, and that number is likely to increase.

Speaking during a presentation Dec. 5 about the state of the entertainment industry in the digital world, said this loss of control isn’t surprising, considering what many of today’s consumers were raised with. From VHS to DVD to Blu-ray Disc, they’ve been asked to buy the same product over and over.

The digital age has changed that, making it easier for consumers to get what they want, when they want it. And if they can get it for free, more likely than not they’ll try.

“There’s no justification,” Dusil said. “But you need to know their motivations.

Dusil pointed specifically to two long-running entertainment business models that are being ravaged by online piracy: domestic pay TV and overseas windowing of theatrical content.

For the first, with cable companies shedding subscribers, he said a la carte programming is an inevitability, equating the current business model to having to buy a book store to read what you want, when you can just as easily go to the library and check something out for much less.

And, Dusil asked, with the studios often holding up a film’s theatrical release overseas, long after it’s hit home entertainment in the U.S., is it any surprise that illegal versions of those films pop up online almost overnight?

“The U.S. will have a DVD or Blu-ray release of a title when it’s just getting to theaters in international markets,” he said. “And the Internet has no borders.”

Dusil acknowledged that Hollywood has been aggressive in the fight against online piracy, shutting down file-sharing site MegaUpload in early 2012, and just this week winning an $80 million judgment against file sharing service Hotfile. But as long as studios make some content harder to get for certain consumers, they’re going to find a way to get it, legal or not, he said.

“And it’s not just about the content, it’s about discovery, connecting people with what they want on the devices [they have],” he said.

Content Protection Summit Speaker Out to Scare Attendees … For Their Own Good

December 4, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Hollywood, know your enemy. Better yet, know their motivations.

That’s part of the message Ralph Echemendia aims to deliver Dec. 12 at the Content Delivery & Security Association’s 4th annual Content Protection Summit (CPS) in Los Angeles.

“Hackers’ motives are either financial or trolling, and trolling is basically being a prick online,” the “ethical hacker” and CEO of digital content security firm Red-E Digital said. “Hollywood’s only concern isn’t just the financial impact of a movie or music leak, things of that nature. There’s also the trolling aspect, where they aren’t interested in your money in any way.”

Sometimes “trolls” are just huge fans, as was the case in 2011 when screen captures of dailies for Summit Entertainment’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 began leaking online, a case that Echemendia worked on. Key on-set personnel had their emails compromised, and through that “phishing,” the dailies were accessed.

“They had been accessing dailies for months before the leak occurred,” he said. “We busted a 21-year-old girl in Argentina who was a Twihard fan. She was the linker, and we had evidence she was logging in, viewing the dailies, going on a blog and leaking them.”

No monetary gain, no nefarious plots. Just a fan who couldn’t resist.

Echemendia will try to stress to CPS attendees just how much information for any one content project is out there, and thus vulnerable to leaks. He plans on sharing simple hacking tricks using Google, showing how things as simple as your email address and phone number can be used to infiltrate your project, and will emphasize just how sinister Trojan viruses can be. Prepare for some audience participation.

“I’m going to pull up Web sites they don’t even know are out there, sites that shouldn’t even be accessible on the Internet,” he said.

Echemendia will also touch on how Hollywood has embraced the influx of mobile devices in its business models, but hasn’t come close to closing all the potential security risks. “You’re talking about people not only having their iPhones and iPads, but now we’ve got Hollywood production solutions that are actually made to run on those, and you’re trusting what you’re seeing, where it’s coming from,” he said. “All of that can be intercepted, very easily.

“There are a lot of different ways we’re trusting these mobile devices and platforms for use in production workflows that are concerning here. All of these attacks that we’re seeing are a result of manipulating technologies that we trust.”

Echemendia’s presentation (“Hacking Hollywood: Behind the Eyes of A Troll”) is one of more than a dozen on the slate at CPS, headlined by a keynote from “The Walking Dead” executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, Hollywood’s “First Lady of Sci-Fi.”

For the full schedule and registration, visit contentprotectionsummit.com/2013/conference-program/

Cyber Monday Sales Break Records

December 3, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Online sales for Cyber Monday hit $2.29 billion, a 16% year-over-year increase that helped conclude a record five days of holiday spending, according to data from Adobe.

From Thanksgiving to Dec. 3 total online sales were $7.4 billion, up 26% from 2012. Every one of the five days saw record-breaking online sales numbers, and while brick and mortar sales were still dominate overall, Internet retailers generated a 42% share on Cyber Monday.

Adobe’s data — garnered from an analysis of nearly 900 million visits to 2,000 retailer sites on Cyber Monday and more than three billion visits since Thanksgiving Day — also showed a record 18.3% of sales on Cyber Monday came via mobile devices, an 80% year over year increase.

“Retailers earned 10% of their annual sales in just the last five days, an increase of 26 percent year over year,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst for Adobe Digital Index. “

Smartphones and tablets drove $419 million in online sales on Cyber Monday, with iPads accounting for 10.1%. Alaska and Hawaii had the largest mobile sales revenue.

Meanwhile, data from IBM showed mobile sales accounted for 25.8% of total online sales on Thanksgiving, and 21.8% of sales on Black Friday.

“We’re off to an incredibly fast start this holiday season as retailers and consumers meet at the intersection of cloud, mobile and social platforms to both offer and take advantage of the best deals,” said Jay Henderson, strategy director for IBM Smarter Commerce. “This year’s winners will be those that can deliver seamless experiences to consumers wherever, whenever and however they choose to shop.”

eBay concurred with Adobe and IBM, noting that online retail store visits via mobile devices were up nearly 130% on Thanksgiving Day 2013 and mobile orders were up nearly 127%, year over year.

Black Friday Weekend Traffic, Sales Up

December 2, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

In years past Best Buy would greet its Black Friday crowds with a midnight Thanksgiving night opening, but for 2013 the retailer opened its doors six hours earlier than usual.

That was good news for the likes of Ryan Trujillo, who bought a dozen Blu-ray Disc on sale at this Best Buy store.

“I was with my family, taking my girlfriend home, and I knew there was going to be a good sale,” the 28-year-old Nuevo, Calif. resident said. “Yeah, they’re all for me. But I’ve still got a month to do Christmas shopping.”

Ken Jones, 38, walked out with a 65-inch Samsung LED HDTV for less than $1,100 … and he didn’t wait in line, unlike a dozen or so Best Buy shoppers who had camped overnight here.

“We’re not that diehard,” the Temecula, Calif. resident said. “We saw people waiting for hours. We waited until they were open and got the same deal.”

Trujillo and Jones were among more than 141 million-plus shoppers who made a purchase during the Black Friday weekend, up from 139 million during the Black Friday weekend of 2012, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). Thanksgiving Day traffic grew 27% with 45 million shoppers out on the holiday.

Total spending for the four-day weekend was estimated to reach $57.4 billion.

“By all appearances and according to CEOs I’ve spoken with across the retail spectrum, it looks like the early opening of stores on Thanksgiving and the traditional start of holiday shopping on Black Friday is breaking new records, including what companies are seeing through their digital channels,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “The key take away at this point is that the real winners are in fact the consumers, who are recognizing more savings through competitive pricing and great promotions being offered in every category.

Four in 10 surveyed by NRF said they shopped online during the weekend. Electronics and DVDs and Blu-rays were among the top four purchases consumers said they made during the weekend, NRF reported.

Shopping analytics firm ShopperTrak pegged Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales alone at $12.3 billion, up 2.8% from the same two days in 2012, with more than 1.07 billion brick and mortar store visits by consumers. However, earlier Thanksgiving hours may have cut into sales for Black Friday itself, with store traffic down 1.8% year over year.

“The Black Friday shopping experience is changing with more shoppers choosing to go out on Thanksgiving Day,” said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin. “Consumers increasingly research products online before entering stores.”

Major retailers presented a rosy picture of their Black Friday results, with Walmart, Target and GameStop all reporting major traffic and impressive sales. Walmart (No. 1), Best Buy (No. 4) and Target (No. 6) had the most visitors on Thanksgiving, according to data from consumer trend analysis firm Placed, with Kmart coming in at a surprising No. 2.

“Our Black Friday events were bigger, better, faster, cheaper and safer than ever,” said Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. “More customers chose us, we had the prices and products they were looking for, and we’re not finished yet.”

The retailer processed more than 10 million register transactions in its stores, and its Web site saw 400 million page views on Thanksgiving Day alone.

The PlayStation 4, the Xbox One, HDTVs, laptops and the iPad mini were big sellers for Walmart, which reported it moved approximately 2 million HDTVs and 1.4 million tablets.

Target said it set a record for Black Friday traffic to its Web site, and that Thanksgiving Day sales were among the highest the retailer had seen in a single day.

“Our guests told us they want top gifts at a great value, and our team delivered,” said Gregg Steinhafel, Target’s chairman, president and CEO. “Whether online, on their mobile devices, or in our stores, guests shopped Target in unprecedented numbers. And, as always, our team provided the exceptional experience our guests have come to expect from Target.”

The iPad Air, HDTV and the Nintendo 3DS XL were among the electronics that sold out quickly during the retailer’s opening salvo of sales.

GameStop reported that many of its stores ran out of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, as the company discounted many games to less than $25.

Online tracking firm comScore reported that Black Friday online spending was nearly $1.2 billion, up 15% year over year, with Thanksgiving Day sales up 21%. The firm reported $20.6 billion has been spent online Nov.1-Nov. 29, a 3% increase in year-to-date dollars compared to 2012.

Save the Date: Forecast: Hollywood Analyst Conference Returns December 10 in Los Angeles

November 27, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

LOS ANGELES — Join leading media & entertainment analysts and consultancies on December 10th in Los Angeles to find out what’s new, what’s trending, and what’s right around the corner in movies, TV, home entertainment and digital at the second annual Forecast:Hollywood event, produced by MESA on December 10 in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles.

Key analysts from Deloitte, Ernst & Young, IBM, IHS, Interpret, NPD, PwC, Strategy Analytics and the 2nd Screen Society will come together to provide a 360 degree industry survey for senior studio executives and their partners. The four-hour program will provide a lightning round of exclusive market intelligence, including panels and keynote presentations.

“Last year, Forecast:Hollywood proved to be one of MESA’s most popular events, providing a unique and unprecedented opportunity to hear all the top analysts in one place, on one stage, at one time. Attendees can ask tough questions and contrast and compare remarks about where the business will be heading in 2014,” explains MESA Executive Director Guy Finley

Once again, the event has been conveniently scheduled right before and in the same location as Variety’s Home Entertainment Hall of Fame, so that executives can share the industry download and then network at one of the entertainment industry’s premier awards celebrations.

Registration is complimentary for MESA members and $195 for all non-members.

Click here to register and for the latest program updates.

‘Walking Dead’ Executive Producer, Gale Anne Hurd to Keynote Variety’s Content Protection Summit, December 12 in Los Angeles

November 18, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

Variety, in partnership with The Content Delivery & Security Association (CDSA), has announced that Gale Anne Hurd, known as the “First Lady of Sci-Fi,” will be a keynote speaker at their 4th Annual Content Protection Summit (CPS) on December 12, 2013 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Gale Anne Hurd is currently Executive Producer of ‘The Walking Dead,” which is the most-watched scripted drama on television today. She also produced and co-wrote “The Terminator,” which was quickly followed by Academy Award-winning “Aliens.”

“Gale will offer a first-hand perspective on the effect of piracy on the business of popular content,” said CPS 2013 Conference Chair, Alex Kochis. “We are honored to have the producer of Academy Award-winning films, and Emmy-winning programs share her perspectives on the impact of piracy on a Hollywood hit.”

The 2013 Content Protection Summit’s preliminary program includes:

  • Illegal Streaming: Over the Top and Over the Line
  • Focusing on the Cloud: A Strategic Approach
  • Does Education Work? The Effect of Notices on End User Behavior
  • Anti-Piracy and IT: Working Together to Secure the Network and the Cloud
  • Beyond the Audit: Strategies for Evolving Comprehensive Security and Auditing
  • It’s a Hit (Now What?): A Producer Perspective on Piracy of Hit Content
  • The Latest on Anti-Piracy Technologies for the Content Industry
  • Protecting your Assets with an Effective Content Management Strategy
  • Innovation and Technology Showcases
(Multi-Track Break-Out Sessions)

Advisory Board members for this year’s Summit include Richard Atkinson, Corporate Director, Worldwide Anti-Piracy, Adobe; James Dunkelberger, General Manager, Worldwide Anti-Piracy Operations, Microsoft; Bob Eicholz, Senior Vice President of IT Architecture & Security, Deluxe; Brad Hunt, President, Digital Media Directions; Aaron Kornblum, Sr. Director, Security Policy, Interactive Entertainment Business, Microsoft; Raj Samtani, Industry Consultant; and Ben Stanbury, Senior Manager, Content & IP Protection, The Walt Disney Studios.

Sponsors include Verance, WatchDox, Akamai, NSSLabs, Cenzic, HITS, MESA, and Citadel Information Group.

To register for the 2013 Content Protection Summit, click here. For Sponsorship information, please contact Garrett Randall at garrett@MESAlliance.org.

Sony’s PlayStation 4 Makes Its Debut

November 15, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Jeffrey Hyatt

PlayStation 4 went on sale early Friday, marking the first new gaming system in seven years from Sony.

Sony’s PlayStation 4 is faster than its predecessor, and also is able to render more realistic graphics for a better gaming experience, according to Sony.

The new PlayStation 4, with a price tag of $399, arrives with plenty of hype, expectations, and significant improvements to the video game console. But the gaming system will only have the spotlight for a short time – Microsoft’s rival Xbox One goes on sale in one week.

The Xbox team was kind enough to congratulate Sony on the launch of PS4 with a simple tweet: “Congratulations on your launch, Sony.”

Happy Tweets aside, it’s serious business time for the console giants. With the holiday shopping season about to kick into high gear, both Sony and Microsoft are focused on driving robust sales. It’s no surprise shoppers have been lined up outside retail stores everywhere, waiting hours to scoop up a PlayStation 4 while supply is plentiful.

To adapt to the swift changes in how consumers utilize their media, the Playstation 4 features better connectivity to social media networks (including Facebook and Ustream), plus new apps to link to online streaming video services. There is also a catalog of 20 games, which is set to expand up to 30 games by the end of the year.

Among the countless PS4 reviews crisscrossing the web, USA Today gives the new gaming console high marks, closing their thorough review with this: “For Sony, the message it sends to competitors through the powerful PS4 is simple: Game on.”

Engadget’s Ben Gilbert says the DualShock 4 controller is the best that Sony has ever created, adding: “I love the DualShock 4. It’s a very comfortable controller, and as stated earlier, the best of its kind.”

A trio of writers for The Verge closed their in-depth review with this: What Sony’s done, though, is mark its territory. Stake its claim. Sony’s not making big, grand gestures about the future of the living room the way Microsoft is, or attempting to alter the way we watch TV and talk to our families. It just wants us to play games. The PlayStation 4 is absolutely, unequivocally a gaming console for people who want to play video games, and it never pretends to be anything else. And even though the games aren’t yet there for Sony — as is really always true with launch titles for consoles — they will be. Sony’s earned the benefit of the doubt on that. “

The New York Times offers a quick look at a few games available on the new video game console from Sony.

AdWeek points out that one thing PS4 shoppers will likely notice right away is Sony’s partnership with Facebook, which allows gamers to log into the new console with their account on the social media platform.

Speaking in New York for the US launch yesterday, the president of Sony Computer Entertainment Andrew House said that sales figure predictions would see them close the gap on Microsoft, whose Xbox 360 console outsold Sony’s Playstation 3 in both Europe and the US.

DEG to Host December 4th Educational Session on 4K Next Generation Content

October 30, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

4K is one of the industry’s most promising opportunities, and with the increased numbers of 4K TVs being offered at retail from a variety of manufacturers, coupled with more 4K content in development, DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group aims to further explore the 4K ecosystem with the first in a series of educational sessions.

In cooperation with its Member Advisory Council (MAC), the DEG is pleased to announce “4K Next Generation Content: A Look Ahead” on Wednesday, December 4 at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City.

The day will kick off with opening remarks from Chris Cookson, President of Sony Pictures Technologies, and will also feature expert speakers and demonstrations of the latest 4K technology. Other confirmed speakers include Hanno Basse, Chief Technology Officer, Technology/Engineering, Twentieth Century Fox Filmed Entertainment; Schawn Belston, Senior Vice President, Library & Technical Services, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment; and Darcy Antonellis, President, Technical Operations and Chief Technology Officer, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Panel topics to be explored:

  • 4K Acquisition and Production (Native 4K)
  • 4K Restoration and Preservation (Film Conversion)
  • 4K Completing the Picture (3D, HFR, HDR and WCG)
  • 4K Distribution Platforms

“The DEG has always been focused on bringing information to the membership so that companies can make informed business decisions,” said Steve Nickerson, President, Millennium Entertainment and Chair, DEG’s MAC. “This symposium on Next Generation Content – and 4K specifically – is no exception. We will be discussing all aspects of 4K content from production to restoration to distribution. We hope that DEG members – and non-members from the industry – will join us to learn more about preparing for next-gen content.”

Please join the DEG to share best practices and engage a candid discussion on the current and future state of 4K technology. This event is complimentary to DEG member companies, while non-DEG members who sponsor the event can also attend. The event is closed to media.

As space is limited, RSVPs are required and due by Thursday, November 21. For more information on sponsorship and speaking opportunities, please reach out to Joanna@degonline.org or call 424-248-3814.

Mediamorph Launches Mediamorph Connect Platform

October 29, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

Mediamorph, a leading cross-platform media and entertainment intelligence and analytics firm, today announced the unveiling of a new easy-to-use, cloud-based platform, Mediamorph Connect, to more effectively and efficiently automate Avails management.

Mediamorph Connect was born from the firm’s foundational work in solving problems for the major motion picture studios, who would previously report data to them via different processes, formats and from different people. They solved that problem with the creation of a cloud-based platform to collect rights, performance and social data on an industry-wide scale.

Now Mediamorph Connect solves the reverse problem for operators of digital video services. Studios put out Avails, windowing information, metadata formats, and asset formats. Mediamorph saw the same problems with different processes.  Mediamorph is implementing the new system for two of the largest video platforms, and is looking for additional partners.

“Mediamorph Connect is a game-changer for studios and video distributors, creating an efficient solution to complexities surrounding the management of Avails information in a very seamless approach,” says Mike Sid, Co-Founder and CEO, Mediamorph. “Our software layer on top of our managed service team will automate the process and data flow into a trusted universal reporting format of Avails information.”

Mediamorph has seen the changes in the way consumers find and consume entertainment, and is using this new API-driven platform to help streamline the overall digital supply chain. Benefits for  operators include: easier management of the Avails process for partners; creation of a trusted, single-source of Avails information; and a scalable cloud platform. Benefits for studios are similar, with the added benefits of improved data and reducing time and costs due to process automation.

For more information on Mediamorph, click here.

Watchdox November 6th Webinar to Explore “Securing the Content Behind Your Content”

October 24, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

The world of entertainment has always been collaborative. Now, as the ecosystem transitions to mobile and the cloud, the challenges in protecting content, scripts, contracts and budgets are also experiencing a fundamental shift. FactoryMade and WatchDox are hosting a one-hour webinar on Wednesday, November 6 at 11 a.m. PDT/2 p.m. PDT, called “Securing the Content Behind Your Content” to explore solutions to these challenges.

Produced by MESA and CDSA, and featuring speakers Douglas Gardner, Director of Finance & Business Development, FactoryMade and Ryan Kalember, Chief Product Officer, Watchdox, the webinar will address:

  • How to protect your content anywhere it travels, even in the hands      of a third party collaborator;
  • What critical capabilities are necessary to protect sensitive data      (like scripts) on mobile devices; and
  • Why FactoryMade Ventures and El Ray were looking to securely enable      mobility and collaboration for their productions and what solution met      their needs.

Don’t miss this intriguing discussion on content protection. Register here to join the webinar.

Variety/CDSA Content Protection Summit Returns to LA, December 12

October 14, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

Variety, in partnership with The Content Delivery & Security Association (CDSA), the international association advocating the secure and responsible delivery and storage of entertainment, software, and information media, announced today that their 4th Annual Content Protection Summit (CPS 2013) will beheld in Los Angeles on December 12, 2013 at the Four Seasons Hotel.

“This year’s Summit will offer a broader take on protecting content by approaching piracy from the perspectives of all content industries,” said CPS 2013 Conference Chair, Alex Kochis. “We have incorporated discussions on some of the most pressing issues and prevailing piracy trends and are designing a program that will give attendees the practical tools and insights they need to counter security threats while still delivering the content the way that people want it.”

The 2013 Content Protection Summit’s preliminary program includes the following sessions:

  • Illegal Streaming: Over the Top and Over the Line
  • Protecting the Hit: Perspectives on Piracy of Big Releases
  • Does Education Work? The Effect of Notices on End User Behavior
  • Developing Content Security for Big Platforms: Xbox One
  • Producer and Consumer: Copyright and Privacy in the Internet Age
  • The Latest on Anti-Piracy Technologies for the Content Industry
  • Securing the Cloud

To register for the 2013 Content Protection Summit, click here. For Sponsorship information, please contact Garrett Randall at garrett@MESAlliance.org.

1K Studios’ New Prez Higgins Outlines Plans for Digital Growth

October 11, 2013 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Lyndsey Schaefer

With the announcement of its recent realignment, Cinram’s 1K Studios aims to showcase its impressive creative chops while simultaneously transitioning into a next generation, fully integrated digital agency.

1K Studios provides digital media services to a growing roster of entertainment and consumer product clients. 1K supports its clients in engaging and interacting with their customers via innovative campaigns, products and experiences.

“With beginnings in the DVD world, 1K has grown to be much more. Our team combines award-winning creative work with technology and strategic insight to create memorable connections with fans,” says Ben Higgins, Cinram Group SVP and newly-named President of 1K Studios. “1K’s tagline, ‘Turning consumers into fans’ hasn’t changed, but our added capabilities across content, digital product development, and social have increased what the agency can do for its clients. While 1K intends to continue to support and grow with its home entertainment clients, we are also aiming to build on the work we’ve have done for theatrical, for broadcast TV and for corporate brands.”

While historically known predominantly as a creative shop, 1K will expand upon recent projects that have utilized their full spectrum of services to further enhance their transmedia storytelling. From creative design, to live action content, to animation, to complex application development, and to social media campaign management, 1K has an integrated approach to marketing content and products.

Higgins was originally hired to look at Cinram’s corporate strategy and to expand on what was being done on the digital side. He had a key role in the company’s acquisition of Saffron Digital, and will still support Cinram at a corporate level, but will primarily focus on the digital side of the business.

“The digital world around us moves at an astonishing pace and we pride ourselves on understanding this shifting landscape, finding unique ways to connect with consumers across all mediums and screen sizes”, says Higgins.

While in the past, 1K was a silent player in creating compelling new experiences, Higgins says, it now has a voice that’s meant to be heard. Keep an eye out for more exciting announcements from 1K Studios in the coming months.

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