By Chris Tribbey
Today’s digital reality for content owners has created a unique opportunity: managing all the metadata – all the associated information with media assets – has almost become as important as the content itself. However, making sure that metadata is accurate, consistent, and easily available can be extremely difficult.
Enter V2 Solutions. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company’s overriding goal for media and entertainment clients is to help them get the absolute most out of their metadata, better facilitate international distribution of digital products, and make data-driven decisions from marketplace analytics.
Teresa Phillips, SVP of media and entertainment for V2 Solutions, and Davinder Luthra, VP of business development for media and entertainment for V2, sat down with the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) to discuss the unique roll V2 has in the media and entertainment space, the challenges M&E companies are facing in an increasingly digital world, the work the company is doing in international ratings, and why data as a service is hugely important to content owners. Read more
By Charles Matheson, Industry Strategist Media & Entertainment, OpenText
Media and entertainment companies are dealing with transformational changes in how they manage and distribute digital assets. The business is changing its production workflows and distribution systems to accommodate digital files and create new products.
All are looking to understand and leverage new technological innovations like 4K Ultra HD workflows, social media forecasting, physical and digital bridged platforms, and UltraViolet. At the same time, new models for content localization, cloud-based storage and production solutions, and omni-channel distribution are disrupting established digital media work-flows. In this digital age of entertainment, companies are now looking ahead for better ways to sell and serve their customers. In the word cloud above are some of the basic components they will need to drive innovation in the coming years. Read more
By Chris Tribbey
To kick off a discussion on whether or not virtual reality (VR) has a future in Hollywood, the Advanced Imaging Society (AIS) trade group Sept. 30 went to an expert on VR’s cousin: 3D. It made sense, since AIS was founded by the studios and others specifically to advance 3D. And there was no better person to turn to for insight than Philip McNally.
After, all he’s changed his legal name to “Captain 3D.” “Virtual reality has always been an exciting idea for me,” he said. “[VR] and 3D have a shared history. Stereoscopic kicked off in a big way with digital projection. The question [with VR] and movie-making, is if the technology is good enough?” Read more
By Chris Tribbey
Media and entertainment executives have more technologies and tools than ever to help boost the audience and profitability of content across multiple distribution platforms. But along with these new tools comes more complexity in how to make data and analytics actually actionable.
Finding that balance will be among the main topics discussed Oct. 8 in Century City, Calif. when the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) and the Hollywood IT Society (HITS) host the fourth-annual Data, Marketing and Analytics Summit (DM&A), which brings together marketing, operations and information technology leaders from across the media and entertainment industry.
CTOs, CIOs and CMOs will all be on hand to share their best practices to make use of the mountain lf consumer data available today, and discuss how enterprises are adapting to best be effective with the information.
Here’s a look at what’s on tap for the HITS DM&A Summit: Read more
By Chris Tribbey
At the Sept. 24 THE (Transforming Home Entertainment) Summit, there was a lot of talk about standards, and how industry-wide adoption of standards can help ease some of the problems content owners are encountering.
But while everyone agrees that standards are necessary, adoption can be slow, and not everyone is on the same page on what’s best for the industry. Summit attendees got a deep look into two areas where standards are coming into play: Interoperable Master Format (IMF) and high-dynamic range (HDR).
IMF — a voluntary Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) file-based framework specification that allows for the delivery of flexible versions of content — “has been floating around in the ether for more than a decade, and it’s only now starting to become a reality,” said Michael Kadenacy, CEO and founder of My Eye Media. Instead of delivering different versions of the same files all over the place, IMF allows for content owners to pick and choose specific assets along with a master file.
The basic benefit of IMF is a content owner can create every version needed with almost no overhead, said Bill Baggelaar, SVP of technology for Sony Pictures. “If you can distribute a package that needs to go to 30 different territories, and only deal with 10% overhead, that’s significant,” he said. And when you look at quality control, IMF allows for simple checks on the accuracy of every content package a studio is looking to deliver. “I don’t have to QC my title 30 times. I only have to QC my base package one time. That’s a huge time saver,” Baggelaar said. Read more
By Chris Tribbey
Jeffrey Hayzlett, former Kodak CMO and author of “Think Big. Act Bigger: The Rewards of Being Relentless,” right away made sure attendees of the Sept. 24 THE (Transforming Home Entertainment) Summit knew what they were getting in his keynote “Engineering a Big Turnaround for Home Entertainment.”
“If you’re expecting a normal corporate presentation, kiss that s— goodbye,” he said. And he wasn’t kidding: Part stand-up routine, part motivational speech, part resume, Hayzlett opened THE Summit with bold advice for the approximate 200 attendees from major studios, digital distributors, entertainment industry trade groups and more.
Hayzlett challenged a home entertainment industry that’s still grappling with the digital transition to think big, act bigger, and “adapt, change or die.” And he pointed to his former company Kodak as a learning example. Read more
By Chris Tribbey
If the state of the music industry is a barometer for where the rest of home entertainment is headed, you could consider the state of the industry bleak indeed.
Or you could be like Russ Crupnick, managing partner of music industry tracking firm MusicWatch, and look at today’s digital reality as an opportunity for home entertainment, and consider what happened to the music industry as a lesson to be learned from.
Crupnick’s was speaking Thursday before a couple hundred entertainment executives at the THE (Transforming Home Entertainment) Summit, produced by the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) and DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group (DEG).
“The digitization of music and home video and books and gaming is a tremendous opportunity,” Crupnick said. “The failure in the music [industry] was to actually monetize it. That more than digital itself.”
No doubt, home entertainment has taken its lumps over the years with the decline in physical media, but nothing compared to what’s happened to a music industry that long ago was riding high on CD sales. Read more
By Chris Tribbey
Executives from major studios, digital distributors, service providers and more will be on hand the afternoon of Sept. 24 in Los Angeles for a new event, one focused entirely on how Hollywood is tackling the transformation of the home entertainment business.
THE (Transforming Home Entertainment) Summit is being produced by MESA and DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group with diamond sponsors My Eye Media and Dolby; platinum sponsor Deluxe; and gold sponsors DTS and Sohonet. The sessions will see content creators and their partners share the innovations that are driving new revenues and efficiencies in home entertainment.
The inaugural event will have selected presenters and panels sharing their ideas on transformative business models, supply chain/digital workflows and transforming the home entertainment experience for consumers before the floor is opened to attendees for moderated discussion.
Here’s what’s on tap for sessions: Read more
By Richard Kroon, Director of Engineering, Entertainment IDentifier Registry (EIDR)
During the Studio Era, there was no need for the sort of durable, globally unique audiovisual works identification provided by EIDR. At that time, vertically integrated monopolies exercised complete control over production, distribution, and exhibition and there were no ancillary markets.
Then came television, the break-up of the Hollywood studios, the rise of independents, home video, and the Internet. Now it is impossible to imagine an audiovisual work that does not pass through multiple hands and that is not viewed in multiple media and innumerable places over a long span of time. Whenever two or more parties must communicate about a common work or cooperate on a single project, they must first find common ground.
Traditionally, companies communicated by exchanging descriptive metadata along with any contract, asset, or transaction and then relied on manual labor to match everything together. Sadly, communicating parties do not always agree on what these descriptive data are or how they are structured – even titles may differ, especially when abbreviated to fit within arbitrary space limitations. Read more
An age-old adage reminds us that hindsight is 20/20. As M&E companies struggle to make sense of dramatic shifts in how they create, manage, distribute and monetize content, there is one question most haven’t been able to answer: what can we learn from the mistakes of other industries interrupted by massive digital disruption, and how can we avoid those mistakes in our own?
Driving changes to privacy today are techno-logical evolutions such as the migration of most of our content to the cloud, our constantly tethered state to our device(s) and the explosion of social media, enticing us to live our professional and personal lives out online. The resulting “always-on” and “always-available” ethos that has emerged, coupled with the increasing avail-ability of our personal identifying information (PII) online has forced us to begin re-examining the importance of privacy in our lives.
These changes become increasingly challenging for organizations, as individuals’ personal online activity occurs in the workplace or they interact with organizational assets. This employee personal use of the Internet exposes organizations to privacy obligations, cyber threats, and Web use liability. Privacy and security of the workplace network is under increasing distress due to several developing trends. Read more
Media Firebrand Bob Lefsetz Added as Keynote to THE (Transforming Home Entertainment) Summit in LA, Sept 24
Outspoken music and media blogger Bob Lefsetz will be joining the stage as a keynote speaker during THE Summit on September 24th from 1 – 6 p.m. at the Luxe Sunset Blvd. Hotel in Los Angeles. In his usual outspoken and provocative style, Lefsetz will be advising the audience of studio and tech services executives how they can “Unsuck the Home Entertainment Experience.”
“Music was just the canary in the coal mine. Movies and TV are now entering the maelstrom, where the techies are despots and the consumer ultimately rules,” Lefsetz says. “Winning in a bubble is impossible, only by adjusting to the ever-changing landscape will you succeed.”
Bob Lefsetz is the author of “The Lefsetz Letter.” Famous for being beholden to no one and speaking the truth, Lefsetz usually addresses the issues that are at the core of the music business: streaming, piracy, pricing and the music itself. His readership includes everyone from Steven Tyler to Deadmau5 to Quincy Jones to Irving Azoff. Now turning his attention to the technology world, Bob’s insights are fueled by his stint as an entertainment business attorney, majordomo of Sanctuary Music’s American division and consultancies to major media companies.
The inaugural Summit is designed to showcase innovations that will drive new revenues and efficiencies in the home entertainment industry. Read more
By Chris Tribbey
Before the Transforming Home Entertainment (THE) Summit gets underway Sept. 24 in Los Angeles, the Women in Technology Hollywood (WiTH) will hold their Leadership Luncheon, featuring a presentation by Trudi Ferguson, professor at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business Management and Organization.
Ferguson’s presentation — “She’s Not Heavy, She’s My Sister: Embracing Diverse Leadership” — will tackle the dynamics of gender identification in the studio workplace, how even female executives tend to favor men in their organizations and operations, and how women executives can make a difference for other women in their field and company. Read more
By Steven Herrera, Consultant at Zaszou, LLC
The home entertainment industry has been rapidly evolving as long-standing business models—such as cable and satellite television subscriptions, and commercial advertising to mass-audiences—have recently been disrupted by the widespread adoption of Internet video-on-demand (VOD).
Changes in technology have caused changes in audience consumption habits. Consumers are increasingly streaming video content from the Internet, not only to computers, but to Internet-enabled TVs and mobile devices. Although linear cable TV and DVRs remain popular with Baby Boomers and Generation Xers, younger generations of “cord cutters” and “cord nevers” increasingly rely on online video for all of their entertainment needs. In general, consumers are not satisfied with the service offered by cable/satellite providers.
They are forced to purchase large bundles of channels they never watch; service blackouts occur when broadcasters and cable/satellite providers fail to reach deals; and prices increase with no corresponding increase in value. Read more
Turnaround Expert Jeffrey Hayzlett to Keynote THE (Transforming Home Entertainment) Summit in LA, Sept 24
Primetime TV and radio host, columnist and corporate turnaround expert Jeffrey Hayzlett will take the stage and Keynote THE Summit on September 24 from 1 – 6 p.m. at the Luxe Sunset Blvd. Hotel in Los Angeles. Hayzlett’s new book, “Think BIG. Act Bigger: The Rewards of Being Relentless,” will frame a dialogue about how a bold executive attitude can actually engineer a big turnaround for industries faced with disruption and transformation.
“The issue is not how to transform the home entertainment business. Consumer behavior and technical innovation are already taking good care of that,” Hayzlett said. “The role of the studio executive is to engineer this change for the biggest results using a bold and relentless focus.”
The inaugural Summit is designed to showcase innovations that will drive new revenues and efficiencies in the home entertainment industry. This think-tank format will give studios and their business partners a platform to voice their ideas and foster an open, industry-wide discussion about transformative business models, technology innovations and workflows. The event is produced by DEG and MESA with platinum sponsors My Eye Media and Dolby; and gold sponsor Sohonet. Read more
By Tyson Wiebe, International Marketing Manager—North America, Scanavo
The growth in digital media sales is well documented. In video games, DFC Intelligence forecasts that by 2018 over 75 percent of game software revenue is expected to be delivered via online models such as digital distribution, subscriptions and virtual item sales.
In home entertainment, digital purchases surged 47 percent in 2013 to top $1 billion, and another 37 percent in the first half of 2014, according to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. And with the increase of eReaders hitting the market, PwC has predicted that eBooks will reach $8.2 billion in sales by 2017, surpassing printed book sales.
Overall, U.S. online retail sales are expected to rise at a strong compound annual growth rate of 9.5 percent between 2013 and 2018, yielding about $414 billion and representing 11 percent of all U.S. retail sales by 2018, ac-cording to Forrester Research. While demand remains greater for physical gift cards than digital gift cards, digital card purchases continue to rise year over year. Read more
By Chris Tribbey
Prime Focus Technologies (PFT, the technology subsidiary of media and entertainment services company Prime Focus) has had a pretty well-defined idea in mind since it launched in 2007: make IT work for media and entertainment companies.
PFT currently accomplishes that goal with CLEAR, a hybrid cloud technology-enabled media enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite aimed at helping broadcasters, studios, and others enhance ecosystem efficiencies, reduce costs and find new monetization opportunities.
Ramki Sankaranarayanan, founder and CEO of Prime Focus Technologies, sat down with the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) to discuss his company’s origins, how PFT is helping M&E companies through the transition to digital, and why “You can’t be selectively digital in a digital era.” Read more
By Von Johnson, CEO, MCF Media Solutions
It’s doubtful that Bill Gates knew how explosively and profoundly true this statement would prove to be.
If it weren’t true, then Roku wouldn’t have 700 content channels (adding an average of one per day), ESPN wouldn’t garner the heftiest household sub-fees in all of U.S. cable (estimated at $5/sub), American Idol wouldn’t be locally formatted in 42 countries, and You Tube’s Annoying Orange wouldn’t have hit a billion views last January. Incidentally, the latter spawned a video game, a series on Cartoon Network, a range of toys and a clothing line in the span of four years. An exhaustive review of the broad and profound changes affecting media would be more ambitious than this article strives to address.
However, several key trends are worthy of focus: the rise of new TV networks and production, the emergence of reality TV, the revival of the big-budget production and the influence of online content on TV.
By Alex Akers, Senior Associate, Jacob Carlson, Consulting Manager, and J.P. Benedict, Managing Consultant, Cognizant Business Consulting
Big Data. That’s the term we hear so much in today’s consumer economy, describing the sheer volume of data accessible to companies.
Social media, mobile devices, and cloud-based storage have propelled big data from an idealistic concept into what we know today. Year after year, human consumption of data grows at an ever accelerating rate. An IDC white paper published in 2010 estimated that in 2009, 800,000 petabytes (0.8 zetabytes) of data were generated. By 2020, the amount of data in the digital universe will grow to 35,000 zetabytes, IDC estimated, a figure that was inconceivable to most people a decade ago.
While information has been accumulating for a long time, the rate of growth has exploded as computers and digital devices—especially connected devices—have become ubiquitous. Where in the late 1990s or early 2000s a household might have had one family computer, now individual family members have a personal computer, a smartphone, tablet, smart watch, and are even wearing smart glasses. Today’s consumer is über-connected. News, business, and social communication are constant, so the portability and “always on” notion of our devices are deemed a necessity to those consumers.
By Chris Tribbey
Last year the popular rock band Foo Fighters did something pretty unique.
Visiting eight American cities (Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Seattle and Washington, D.C.), the band’s front man Dave Grohl used interviews with local musicians, music engineers, and music producers to produce songs based on each city’s musical history.
The end result was “Sonic Highways,” the eighth album from the 20-year-old band. Concurrent with the band’s work on “Sonic Highways” was production of an eight-episode HBO documentary series, “Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways,” an Emmy-nominated docu-series chronicling the work put into the tracks. And according to Jim Rota, executive producer for the HBO series, there was at least one specific company that helped make production of “Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways” successful: Box.
“Box helped us immensely on the show,” Rota said. “As we moved from city to city developing this series, Box provided us with a one stop shop for reviewing and collaborating on photos, videos, music and production logistics. We couldn’t have produced this series without Box. We used it for everything.”
The success Rota found using Box to produce “Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways” will be front and center Sept. 2 when he and Jade McQueen, managing director of media and entertainment for Box, take part in a unique Webinar: “Producing a Hit in the Cloud: Fireside Chat with the Producers of HBO Docu-series, ‘Sonic Highways.’”
The Webinar is being produced by Box and the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA), and will focus on how a platform like Box can help content companies take advantage of the cloud, and change how creative teams produce and distribute content.
Using Box, Rota’s post-production team for “Sonic” could preview and manage clips and collaborate with licensers on archival material instantaneously, McQueen said.
According to McQueen, the “Sonic Highways” example is especially poignant for the media and entertainment industry, showing that Box can be utilized as a cloud-based, virtual office allowing creative teams to collaborate on all their materials, and serve as a central repository for every production aspect.
“To me, this use case stands out, because of the multiple [shoot] locations and all of the archival footage. The collaboration between the production and the people licensing out this archival material made it unique,” McQueen said. “We’re seeing more of this in the media and entertainment industry, this idea of having a central, collaborative space. It’s a larger industry trend.”
The “Producing a Hit in the Cloud” Webinar will be held Sept. 2 at 11 a.m. Pacific. To register, click here.
By Paul Sweeting
In a rare but telling move, the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday intervened directly in a retransmission consent dispute between Sinclair Broadcasting and Dish Network after 129 Sinclair stations in 79 markets went dark on the satellite TV system. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler ordered the Media Bureau to convene an emergency meeting with the parties and issued a strongly worded statement condemning the blackout.
“We will not stand idly by while millions of consumers in 79 markets across the country are being denied access to local programming,” Wheeler said. “The Commission will always act within the scope of its authority if it emerges that improper conduct is preventing a commercial resolution of the dispute.”
The move seemed to signal that Wheeler means to take a hard line on rewriting the rules governing retransmission fee negotiations between broadcasters and pay-TV operators to try to avoid, or at least minimize, future blackouts. Read more
NEW YORK — HITS, the media & entertainment IT association, will host its Second Annual HITS Broadcast IT Summit, at the NAB/CCW Convention at Jacob Javits Convention Center on November 11.
The gathering will feature Michael Wolff, the best-selling author of Television Is the New Television, as the keynote speaker. Wolff will talk about the future of the broadcasting industry, old media vs. new media, and why he believes addressable television will be “a game changer.”
During the keynote, the technology executives in attendance will gain “a new way to look at TV and a new way to look at digital,” says Wolff, who expects to “flip the way you look at each of them.”
The second HITS Broadcast IT Summit at NAB/CCW will also feature sessions on:
- Generating $ and Sense Across all Platforms
- The New Cloud: Collaboration By the Numbers
- Broadcast Data & Analytics: Leveraging Insights and Intimacy into Results!
- It’s Not “If” But “When” You’ll Get Hacked: Secrets to Building an Incident Response Team
- IT Meets Madison Ave.
Wolff’s keynote address, “Why Television Is the New Television,” will be an armchair discussion between Wolff and HITS Executive Director Devendra Misha. A media columnist at USA Today, Wolff will provide his own unique and often controversial perspective about the broadcast industry and why he believes television will emerge stronger than ever from its current advertising wars with digital media. Read more
By Paul Sweeting
Shares of leading M&E companies had a roller coaster day Monday as global markets swung widely in response to the steep plunge in prices on China’s stock exchange and broader concerns about the strength of the Chinese economy.
Netflix shares tumbled 14.7% in the first hour of trading, 21st Century Fox’s stock slipped 6.09%, Lionsgate fell 12.20%, Viacom stock slipped 3.92% , Time Warner shares slid 2.02%, CBS shares fell 1.09% and Disney’s stock dropped 3.38%. Social media stocks, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn also plunged from the opening bell.
Shares of cable stocks fell in the morning as well, paced by Cablevision, which fell nearly 10% in early trading, followed by Charter, Time Warner Cable and Comcast. Shares of Dish fell nearly 8% in the first hour.
By early afternoon, however, M&E stocks had made up much of those early losses as the broader U.S. stock market recovered from its initial swoon. Shares of CBS and Apple actually traded in positive territory for a while before settling back to being flat on the day. Read more
By Cindy McKenzie, Managing Director, Entertainment, Media and Communications, PwC
Historically, consumers watched feature films in a movie theater and television at home. Then, DVDs became available for home viewing. Over the last few decades, the business model for media and entertainment companies was fairly consistent: Build it and they will come. Not anymore.
Entertainment choices for consumers are now ubiquitous as Internet penetration converges with the exponential growth of mobile devices. As the number of connected mobile devices on the planet edges past the number of human beings, entertainment and media companies are well positioned to gain an even larger share of the consumer’s time by providing enhanced viewing experiences.
It’s what consumers have come to expect: a multi-view experience with content tailored to each device, enhanced by value-added content and experiences. Read more
By J. Kent Bracken, Director-BPO, Media & Entertainment, Capgemini
The pace of change in today’s digital business world means one thing: nothing is sacred. In all things you must be forward-thinking, innovative, and open to change. In the digital universe, we see innovation every-where. From 3D printers to bio-fabrication, innovation and change rule. If you’re not convinced, talk to the management of companies left behind like Eastman Kodak, Blockbuster, and Motorola.
Until recently, many media and entertainment companies have been slow to embrace innovation in the participations space. Existing manual processes, tribal knowledge, home-grown tools, and limited reporting have reigned. Now, broad changes in the industry and the competitive landscape show that innovation in participations management is needed and can yield improvements in competitive posture, lower cost, reduce risk and improve the dialog with talent. Read more
By Ian Wheal, Global Strategy Director, Adstream
For more than a decade, linear TV has largely been left behind by its digital counterparts. Today’s digital toolkit allows CMOs to measure engagement with their content in real-time and then react to that feedback again in real-time. Both of these elements — measurement and the ability to react rapidly— are critical. But so far, only half of this puzzle has started to be solved for linear TV: the data side.
There is a very narrow window of time for reacting to feedback. If data from your audience tells you something, you only have a very brief moment in time to change something before your chance to re-engage and increase effectiveness is lost. To do this in a linear TV world requires a platform that not only pulls in data but delivers actionable insight and then makes it easy to rapidly execute on that insight and get it back out to your audience before they’ve moved on. Right now, that exists in digital but not for linear TV.
That moment is coming, the renaissance of linear TV is nearly upon us.
By Paul Sweeting
Hold the champagne, Hollywood. Your hopes of investing the International Trade Commission with the power to block foreign websites from transmitting copyright-infringing material into the U.S. hit turbulence Tuesday when a federal court raised questions during oral argument in a case involving tooth aligners over whether the ITC has statutory authority to regulate electronic transmissions.
While it’s always risky to try to guess what a court will do from oral arguments, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit seemed decidedly skeptical of claims by the ITC and by the makers of Invisalign hidden braces that the Tariff Act of 1930 gave the commission the power to prevent Pakistan-based ClearCorrect from sending digital models of tooth aligners from servers in Pakistan to its facility in Texas, where they are used to manufacture the plastic aligners using a 3D printer. Read more
By Chris Tribbey
By the end of the second quarter, the number of people worldwide using ad-blocking software grew by 41% to 198 million active monthly users, and the estimated loss of revenue due to blocked ads so far in 2015 is $21.8 billion, or 14% of global ad spending.
That’s according to a new report from Adobe and anti ad-blocking software startup PageFair, which found that ad blocking in the U.S. grew 48% year over year to 45 million active monthly users, and grew 35% to 77 million active monthly users in Europe. The report estimates the global cost of ad blocking will hit $41.4 billion by 2016.
“It is tragic that ad block users are inadvertently inflicting multi-billion dollar losses on the very Web sites they most enjoy,” said PageFair CEO and co-founder Sean Blanchfield. “With ad blocking going mobile, there’s an eminent threat that the business model that has supported the open Web for two decades is going to collapse Read more
By Chris Tribbey
Over-the-top (OTT) services are either a huge boon for business, or they’re hurting your content company’s bottom line. It all depends on who you ask.
CBS’s Les Moonves couldn’t be happier with the state of over the top services, and consumers’ desire (and willingness to pay) for anytime, anywhere access to content. Disney’s Bob Iger lamented the impact OTT services are having on ESPN, one of Disney’s top money making properties.
Major studios reported their quarterly fiscal results during the last couple weeks. Here’s a run-down of what their executives had to say about OTT, and how it’s impacting their bottom lines. Read more
By Paul Sweeting
The movie studios and record companies for years have sought legal authority to block access within the U.S. to websites that host or index pirated content, especially those located outside the country and beyond the reach of U.S. copyright law. They thought they had it in 2011, when the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) made it to within steps of the floor of the House of Representatives, where it was widely expected to pass. A companion bill in the Sentate, the Protect IP Act (PIPA), also seemed to be on track for passage.
Both bills came of the rails at the last minute, however, when a spontaneous-ish cyber-uprising (spurred in part by Google and other internet companies) spooked members of Congress who hadn’t really thought much about the issue before and support for the legislation collapsed. But the movie and music companies may soon get another, unlikely bite at the apple.
Next week, a federal appeals court in Washington, DC, will hear oral arguments in a case involving an international trade dispute over teeth-alignment appliances that has now drawn in many of the same combatants involved in the fight over SOPA. The court case stems from an April 2015 ruling by the International Trade Commission against Pakistan-based ClearCorrect Operating, LLC, which was accused of importing and selling teeth-realignment devices that infringed U.S. patents held by Align Technology, makers of Invisalign hidden braces. Read more
By Rahul Sabharwal, Solutions Lead, Neha Lamba, Sales Director, and Subhankar Bhattacharya, Practice Head, HCL America (Media & Entertainment)
The next great challenge for media companies is to transition away from “creative hunches” and “promotional excess” and to transform into truly data-driven businesses.
This will require a significant investment of time and resources in order to create a new core-competency around data. Then, having nurtured this new expertise, firms must develop a relentless focus on audience intimacy – that is, understanding individuals’ interest, behavior, motivation and influence.
Television Networks are facing two large problems today. On one hand, the television advertising market is facing increasing competition for ad dollars from the digital video market as evident from the widely reported potential decline in the TV upfront market in 2014. On the other hand, its own digital business is plagued with the problem of having scanty customer data that can be effectively packaged and sold to advertisers to either compensate or complement the TV advertising model. Read more
By Paul Sweeting
For the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014, Akamai delivered 7 Terabits per second of streaming video, an eight-fold increase over the 2010 Olympics. That was on top of Akamai’s normal daily volume at the time of around 20 Tbs.
For the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Akamai’s Media Products Division senior VP and GM Bill Wheaton told the 2nd Screen Sports Summit in New York last week, the CDN expects to deliver 7 Tbs in the U.S. alone. Worldwide volume, Wheaton estimated, could reach 25 to 30 Tbs., on top of Akamai’s normal daily load of 32 to 34 Tbs.
By 2020, if current projections hold, the Olympics could generate 1,000 times today’s level of demand for video, Wheaton said, or roughly 25,000 Tbs of data. Other global sporting events, like the FIFA World Cup could generate similar levels of demand, as consumers around the world increasingly turn to the internet, particularly with mobile devices, for watching live sports.
As demand increases, so too do consumers’ expectations of quality.
“With television, it doesn’t buffer, it starts quickly, it’s always on, it always works. That doesn’t happen today on the internet,” Wheaton said But expectations are changing. “People are paying real money for this, they expect it to work.” he said. Read more
By Kameswara Rao Bh, Principal Architect, Digital Group, and J. David Garland, Associate VP of Consulting, Media & Entertainment, IGATE
Understanding consumer sentiment has long been the Holy Grail for both advertisers and content providers.
As the business shifts from being content-centric to consumer-centric, this need be-comes even more critical. The ability to quickly adapt content to conform to consumer tastes, change ads for greater effectiveness, and optimize expensive promo campaigns is now required to be competitive. In the past, information was limited to what could be inferred from polls and surveys. While helpful, small sample sizes and long turnaround times limited their accuracy and usefulness.
The explosion in popularity of smartphones, tablets and social media has created a new phenomenon called the “second screen” in the context of TV viewing. A second screen is a second electronic device used by television viewers before, during, or after they are actively watching programming. (The term also applies to screens other than television sets for viewing content, but that’s not the context we are using here.) Second screen applications are making television more interactive, and increasing engagement, viral influence, and ultimately, viewership.
They also provide an ideal platform for presenting targeted advertising as well as creating advertising tie-ins with the content. As we saw with votefortheworst.com, social media applications can cut two ways and must be carefully managed. Read more
By Chris Tribbey
When high-def first came around, TV manufacturers ditched cathode ray-tube in a hurry, broadcasters and streaming services quickly committed to delivering content in 720p and 1080p, and Hollywood studios even got into a disc format war, fighting over how to best deliver high-def content to the home.
As licensing of 4K, Ultra High-Def (UHD) content commences for Blu-ray Disc, Victor Matsuda, chair of the Blu-ray Disc Association’s (BDA) global promotions committee, sees the same industry-wide commitment that occurred with HD happening with 4K.
“It’s déjà vu,” Matsuda said, speaking July 23 during an online broadcast update on the status of UHD Blu-ray. “I see the combination of all of that [coming together] to help the proliferation of 4K UHD. “We’ve got the 4K UHD TV market blossoming, and without a doubt it’s one of the most talked about [consumer electronics] products. … And we have to provide consumers with the content for these TVs, which we can do with Ultra HD Blu-ray.”
Matsuda and Paul Erickson, senior analyst for IHS Technology, discussed the importance UHD Blu-ray will play in overall consumer acceptance and adoption of 4K, with Erickson noting that very little 4K content is available via streaming services, and that Blu-ray Disc has the best chance to “aid the adoption of the 4K UHD ecosystem.”
“As the ecosystem spins up, in the interim … what’s the way, if you own a 4K Ultra-HD TV, to watch content?” he said. Read more
The barriers and borders around content consumption are dropping.
With users being increasingly able to share the viewing experience within social networks there is now a great demand for TV programming to be made available across borders much sooner. As the next generation of TV evolves we are seeing greater links between major social media, recommendation services and analytical engines; all of which combine to enable consumers to give and receive recommendations from their network wherever they are in the world.
OTT services like Netflix are already responding to this. Its original series House of Cards is a perfect example. Netflix famously chose to commission two seasons of House of Cards for $100 million without ever seeing a pilot. It based the decision on a meticulous analysis of the viewing habits of its 44 million subscribers worldwide by running the data on a number of factors: the actors, director David Fincher and the type of cinematography he creates, its subscribers’ reaction to the original (British) House of Cards released in 1990, and whether the online audience tends to enjoy political drama. Read more
By Chris Tribbey
The sports fans’ second screen experience — and how their data can be best utilized — will be tackled July 28 in New York when the 2nd Screen Society (S3) and Sports Video Group (SVG) host the second annual “2nd Screen Summit: Sports” event.
When it comes to reaching sports fans today, there’s one thing broadcasters, advertisers, marketers, leagues and individual teams all must have in mind: the second screen. Sports fans use second screen devices differently than casual movie and TV show viewers, looking to their smart phone, tablet or PC to check scores, watch video and manage a fantasy team, all while watching a live game.
“Sports and their super fans are a catalyst for expanding their experience through devices and televisions,” Guy Finley, Executive Director at MESA/2nd Screen Society, said.
“The data being collected from this critical segment will usher in a new era of intelligence and decision making that will drive the evolution of the connected consumer. Whether it is Social TV, an OTT offering or a unique engagement experience, the 2nd screen continues to proliferate within our industry we are proud to partner with SVG to provide a community environment for these companies to learn from one another.”
At next week’s summit, representatives from the New York Giants, the New York Mets, Fox Sports, NBC Sports, CBS Sports and Turner Sports will be on hand, to share their work with sports fans and the second screen. Read more
By Chris Tribbey
Founded in 2013 by four consulting industry experts with a combined 80 years of experience in media and entertainment, OnPrem Solution Partners came about with an express purpose: be the top consulting and technology innovation firm in Hollywood.
Currently working with every major studio, and growing from about a dozen billable consultants in 2013 to more than 100 this year, the company seems on track.
Frank Leal, one of the founding partners of the Los Angeles-based company, sat down with the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) to discuss OnPrem’s focus on talent, the biggest challenges media and entertainment companies are facing today, and the need for solid data analytics in today’s market. Read more
MESA’s Smart Content Council has announced a partnership with the Midwest Digital Asset Managers Smart Content Meetup Group to produce a series of educational and networking events in the Midwest. The local group of 126 members includes experts in DAM, Media Asset Management (MAM), metadata, taxonomy, information governance, big data, data analytics, storage, workflow, information retrieval and other smart technologies for digital content.
The first partnership event is being held at 4pm on Thursday, July 23rd at the John Hancock Center (875 North Michigan Avenue). This two-hour meetup includes an introduction of “Tales from the Semantic Revolution” and a discussion on the topic of “Creating Smart Content for Search, Knowledge Management & Analytics” Panelists and speakers will feature Lorraine Pelka, Source Applications Manager at Bank of America and Matt Turner, CTO at MarkLogic. Read more
By Ken Goeller, Vice President, Solutions Engineering, Deluxe Digital Distribution (D3)
Industry consensus is that 4K will be the next generation television technology that will capture the consumers’ imagination.
With this consensus, production, processing, workflow, and delivery mechanisms must be re-defined for mass scale as subscribers embrace the potential of this exciting new viewing experience. Now is the time for service providers to investigate the necessary steps to prepare and ramp commensurate with the pace of the market and position themselves as leading providers of very high-quality content. Fundamentally, it should be understood that there will be variations in the quality of 4K formatted titles.
This is based on nuances having to do with parameters used in the preparation of content from sources that are either 4K native shot and mastered production, or in the conversion, restoration, and re-mastering from film or HD. Furthermore, to ensure that the playback experience is optimized on target devices, 4K files will need to undergo rigorous testing and quality analysis of resolution, color gamut, bit depth, frame rate, compression, and decoding algorithms. Read more
By Chris Tribbey
During the third quarter of this year, intellectual property management software company FilmTrack expects to debut a new cloud-based rights management and analytics platform, one that leverages SAP HANA, the in-memory relational database management system.
“We’re excited to leverage the predictive analytics and business intelligence capabilities of SAP HANA to deliver an enhanced FilmTrack solution for rights management,” said FilmTrack CEO Jason Kassin. “This will allow us to provide new tools for our clients that will enable them to leverage the most comprehensive and efficient intellectual property and financial management platforms on the market in real time.” Read more
By Chris Tribbey
The Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) is featuring a series of one-on-one interviews with stakeholders in high dynamic range, or HDR. Today, Howard Lukk, standards director for the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers (SMPTE) offers his thoughts on the standards behind the technology.
MESA: SMPTE has already made some gains on the HDR standards front. What’s the latest?
Lukk: SMPTE has published two standards relating to HDR. SMPTE Standard (ST)-2084 which codifies Dolby Perceptual Quantizer (PQ) transfer function. (Electrical Optical Transfer Function – EOTF to be specific). Along with that ST-2086 which defines static metadata for HDR.
These are standards targeted for the mastering of content at the end of the post-production workflow. This allows for any equipment down the line to understand the nature of the HDR content if they support those standards. There is also another standard in the works, not yet published for dynamic metadata which would aid in a transition world where equipment needs to support standard dynamic range (SDR) content and HDR content. This is where things get complicated at the moment.
SMPTE also plans to publish a Study Group (SG) Report on HDR in the second half of the year, which will serve to educate and highlight issues when is comes to standardization for the content mastering and broadcast ecosystem. Read more
By Chris Tribbey
The Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) is featuring a series of one-on-one interviews with stakeholders in high dynamic range, or HDR. Today, Brian Markwalter, SVP of research and standards for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), offers his thoughts on the standards behind the technology.
MESA: It looks messy out there in terms of standardization for HDR. What kind of progress are we seeing on standards for HDR?
Markwalter: It doesn’t look as messy from my perspective, and maybe that’s because we’ve seen it before in other [technology] standards. There are definitely proponents of different approaches, but I think in the standards world, the companies involved who are trying to deploy these systems are intent on being as technology neutral as possible. Read more
By Chris Tribbey
It took years between the introduction of the first 4K, Ultra High-Def (UHD) sets before content owners and distributors began really throwing their weight behind the technology.
For high dynamic range (HDR) — technology that promises the best-possible contrast between light and dark images (i.e., brighter whites and darker blacks), and brings greater detail to every frame of video — it’s only taken a span of months for the hardware and content companies to get on the same page.
HDR-enabled TVs made their big splash at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, and content companies have been very quick to follow suit. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has said it will offer all new films in HDR, as well as some catalog titles, and Warner Bros. has several recent releases available in HDR. Netflix, Vudu, Amazon and M-Go are all offering 4K content.
Mark Turner, VP of business development and relationships for Technicolor, sees the quick commitment as a significant — and hopeful — sign for the future of the technology. Read more
By Chris Tribbey
Since 4K Ultra High-Def (UHD) first emerged, the top players in both the consumer electronics and home entertainment industries have worked together to push adoption of the successor to 1080p.
Today, 4K sets from every major TV manufacturer are prominent in retail stores. Studios continue to sell 4K films to consumers on hard drives, and Netflix, Amazon and M-Go all offer 4K content. Most recently the Blu-ray Disc Association finalized specifications for 4K UHD Blu-ray, opening the door for UHD 4K content on disc and the sale of UHD Blu-ray hardware, just in time for Christmas.
But while the entertainment industry is busy pushing 4K, there’s a quiet battle going on behind the scenes, centered around a technology many consumers aren’t even aware exists: high dynamic range, or HDR. HDR technology promises the best-possible contrast between light and dark images (i.e., brighter whites and darker blacks), bringing greater (and more life-like) detail to every frame of video.
Several industry trade groups are working toward standardizing what is required of HDR, and what consumers should expect from the technology. The UHD Alliance, the International Telecommunication Union, the Advanced Television Systems Committee, and the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers are among those weighing in on HDR, and the standards that may be needed for it. Read more
By Mike Sid, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Mediamorph
As busy, on-the-go film, television and sports viewers, we’ve never had it so good. Streaming and downloading digital video in HD is ubiquitous, so we can watch the major-ity of programs on demand whenever we want to.
New services with apps for our laptops, tablets and phones mean we can watch just as easily when travelling as we can at home. Many of us are more likely to be watching TV streamed through a games console, smart TV app or set-top boxes than we are to be watching a live broadcast. New entrants are producing original shows, unbound from the traditional studio and network system. Subscribers get to watch and green light pilots. Producers, networks and video operators are building new funding mod-els based on exclusive digital windows across their respective customers.
This golden age for consumers of digital content has been complex and difficult to achieve for the studios – but they have been rewarded as digital revenues continue to grow as a significant percentage of their businesses. Read more
By Chris Tribbey
Sean Foreman, an engineer for the Omniture analytics team at DirecTV, looked like a kid in a candy store after he walked out of the Sony Computer Electronics (SCE) virtual reality booth June 17 at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).
He was one of the lucky attendees who got a full taste of the Project Morpheus virtual reality (VR) system for the PlayStation 4 (PS4), which is expected to hit retail in the first quarter of 2016, part of a larger gaming industry push to get VR into homes for both gaming and video content.
“I’m just blown away,” Foreman said. “It’s become so responsive, and so improved so quickly. It really makes me consider adding VR to my home.”
But, as pleased with the VR experience as Foreman was, he and other E3 attendees had a lot of questions about where VR for the home is headed. Can the gaming industry succeed with VR where it failed with 3D? Will there be enough content?
Will there be enough retail support? A recent virtual reality forecast from Digi-Capital pegs the VR market at $30 billion by 2020. But similar forecasts were made for 3D in the home when it first debuted.
By Chris Tribbey
When Oregon-based stop-motion animation studio LAIKA produced their first two movies — “Coraline” and “ParaNorman” — video files were shared among company executives and marketing partners using FTP, which resulted in everything from unreliable server connections to data management and security issues.
LAIKA turned to Hightail during production of their third film to streamline the process: “When production started on ‘The Boxtrolls,’ LAIKA switched to Hightail, which solved all those problems and enabled the studio to make its process more flexible and fast,” said Mike Trigg, chief marketing officer for the file-sharing and creative collaboration company formerly known as YouSendIt.
Trigg recently sat down with the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) to discuss the evolution of the company over the past decade, the challenges of file sharing in a multiscreen world, and the companies that have used Hightail to change how they do business. Read more
By Andy Nobbs, Chief Marketing Officer, Civolution
Technology futurists claim the best kind of tech is the type that seems to disappear completely from the user experience, leaving only the content in view.
Jack Dorsey, in describing to Charlie Rose his aspirations for the user experiences of both Twitter and Square, in 2011 stated that his fore-most goal was to have the technology simply fade away. He pointed to Apple’s game-changing tablet as an example: “When you’re using the iPad, the iPad disappears—it goes away,” explained Dorsey. “You’re reading a book. You’re viewing a website, you’re touching a website. The technology goes away.”
Two years later, following the rollout of Apple’s completely reimagined iOS 7, the Apple head of design himself, Jony Ive, explained his vision for security on the new iPhone 5S: “[The new Touch ID feature makes] something as important as security so effortless, so simple. We believe that technology is at its very best—at its most empowering—when it simply disappears.”
This so-called “disappearing” technology is especially critical in the consumer market, where masses of non-technical users are armed with personal computing devices that allow for the consumption of infinite digital goods, services, and entertainment. Powered by now-ubiquitous touchscreen devices, consumer app experiences are increasingly evolving into those in which the user can simply manipulate on-screen content by way of natural, physical gestures, with little thought as to the powerful hardware and software that hums along in the background— where it should be—making it all possible. Read more
NEW YORK – In an announcement that will create a new content and editorial powerhouse in the accelerating market for next generation television businesses and technologies, MESA and its 2nd Screen Society have joined forces with BRaVe Ventures on its newly launched TV[R]EV content and editorial platform, which will now be distributed via email and social media to tens of thousands of technology and brand leaders worldwide.
The 2nd Screen Society’s weekly newsletter, 2nd Screen 2-Day, which aggregates content from leading sources, will now be provided to readers alongside TV[R]EV’s original content.
“This combined editorial effort will provide MESA’s members with a broader reach into the brand and broadcast community, which will help distribute our news and thought leadership to the widest possible audience of decision makers,” says Guy Finley, Executive Director of MESA and the 2nd Screen Society. “We also welcome the creative input and industry contacts that the BRaVe team will now contribute to the relevant range of MESA events and industry initiatives.”
David Beck, Jesse Redniss, and Gary Vaynerchuk founded BRaVe Ventures as a strategic advisory and investment firm focused on the [R]evolution of the Technology, Media & Entertainment landscape. With clients ranging from major media companies including CBS and Turner, to industry disrupting start-ups, BRaVe has been at the forefront of this rapidly evolving ecosystem.
Recognizing that the pace and complexity of change has been accelerating faster than anyone anticipated, BRaVe saw the opportunity to launch a content platform that would inform and entertain both industry insiders as well as TV fans trying to make sense of the [R]evolution of TV.
When Showtime debuted its standalone streaming service aimed at cord cutters last week, there was some speculation that Apple had scored another exclusive for its platform, similar to its deal with HBO NOW, as Showtime noted it would initially be available on Apple devices, including the iPhone, iPod touch and Apple TV. It appears that Showtime was not locked into an exclusive deal after all, as the network announced today that the new service will also become available on Roku and Sony’s PlayStation Vue at launch…
Apple Inc. is assembling a high-speed network and upgrading how it builds data centers, a push to be more competitive with Amazon.com Inc., Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. in cloud services, people familiar with the plans said. Up to now, Apple has relied mostly on traditional network providers and technology suppliers to support consumer services such as iTunes for music and movies, iCloud for storing photos and other content and the Siri voice-activated assistant. Apple will stick with most of its existing vendors, and is mainly seeking to bolster its current infrastructure…