Rovi CFO Discusses Company Revamp

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

By Chris Tribbey

During the two years Peter Halt has been chief financial officer for Rovi Corp., he’s seen the company divest assets, take on companywide reorganization, and undergo a major portfolio overhaul.

All the changes have made Rovi a better company, and a better bet for investors, Halt said March 5, speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference. “It’s been a very busy two years,” he said. “We inherited a company that, candidly, needed to get its focus back. We had gotten into some businesses that were outside of our core DNA.”

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EVS: Best Known for Sports, But Proving a Digital Powerhouse for TV Production

March 5, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Live production workflow for NBC Olympics’ 2014 Olympic winter games in Sochi, Russia? 4K Ultra HD zooming and live production capabilities for Fox Sports’ Super Bowl 2014 broadcast? Transcoding, archiving, multi-camera control of clips and playlist management for the World Series?

Say hello to Belgium-based EVS Broadcast Equipment.

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Warner, Disney, Fox, Sony Pictures, ITV & BBC all to participate at HITS Europe

March 4, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

Following the announcement of HITS Europe the response from the content community has been overwhelming. Four of the world’s leading studio groups and two of Europe’s largest broadcasters have already signed up to participate in the event, with more expected to join later this week. Confirmation is also awaited from a number of independent video groups and participants from the music and games industries.

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Analysts Mostly Optimistic on Redbox’s Future

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

By Chris Tribbey

At its recent analysts day, executives with Redbox and parent company Outerwall shared that despite having a 50% market share in the physical disc rental market, and despite being nearly built-out with kiosks in the United States, there’s still room for the rental company to grow.

Eric Wold, analyst with B. Riley & Co., said he believes that growth will have to come with an inevitable price increase.

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Metadata Madness Event Set for March 25

February 28, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Basketball, drinks and … Metadata? That’s the plan March 25 in Los Angeles, when the Media and Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) partners with DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) to put on the one-day Metadata Madness event.

Dedicated to the ever-changing effort of defining and aligning the fields of data, which helps automate creative, production, distribution and business processes for the digital entertainment age, the event will bring together the top experts in the entertainment metadata world.

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AllDigital: Keeping Broadcast Content Constant

February 27, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Since its inception in 2009, Irvine, Calif.-based AllDigital has had one overriding goal: allow broadcasters to move content between all devices.

And today it’s about enabling broadcasters to do that almost instantaneously, according to Tim Napoleon, co-founder and president of media services for AllDigital.

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ContentBridge Takes on Amplify’s Digital Supply Chain Duties

February 26, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

In mid-January, Los Angeles-based digital distributor GoDigital and New York-based theatrical distributor Variance Films announced they had merged under the brand name Amplify.

Amplify’s stated goal: offer a unique, all-rights film distribution company, releasing up to 10 films a year, across every platform, with windowing (day and date, early digital, traditional, etc.) determined on a film-by-film basis.

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Rovi Beefs Up Discovery Technology with Veveo Acquisition

February 25, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Rovi Corp. will pay $62 million in cash for Andover, Mass.-based Veveo, giving Rovi an intellectual property portfolio centered around personalization and contextual search tools for video content.

Rovi will combine Veveo’s technology with its own search and recommendation engine and metadata to improve its advertising and analytics offerings for multi-system operators, device manufacturers and social media companies.

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Security Experts Talk Need for ‘Culture’ Change

February 21, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

Ralph Echemendia, founder and CEO of RED-E Digital and a professional hacker-for-hire, at one point didn’t even need to hack a major content industry company to raise some serious security concerns.

All it took was a phone call.

Echemendia’s team placed an anonymous call (“using a Darth Vader voice”) to the company’s CEO, relayed personal information they found in the trash, and simply said that the company had been hacked. The CEO responded by running to the server room, and shutting the company down for 24 hours….

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Technicolor CEO: 2013 A ‘Banner’ Year

February 20, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Technicolor CEO Fred Rose may be looking back at 2013, but while doing it he sees a bright future for the Paris-based company.

While discussing his company’s fiscal results Feb. 19, Rose pointed out a number of positives for the company last year.

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Sony Reports PS4 Sales Ahead of Japan Launch

February 18, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Sony Corp. Feb. 18 announced it has now sold more than 5.3 million PlayStation 4 consoles, and the console has yet to debut in Japan (Feb. 22).

Meanwhile, sales of competitor Xbox One from Microsoft were at approximately 3 million at the end of 2013, and while Microsoft hasn’t released official numbers for January, several reports peg worldwide sales for the Xbox One last month at about 600,000.

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PwC: ‘Megadeals’ Up Value of Entertainment, Media, Communications Transactions

February 17, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

The Comcast-Time Warner Cable “megadeal” announced last week is part of an ongoing trend with entertainment, media and communications engaging in “megadeals” more frequently, according to a new report from Price WaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

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Rovi CEO: Our Focus Has Changed

February 13, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Tom Carson, CEO and president of Rovi Corp., was both optimistic and blunt regarding the future of his company Feb. 12.

“We are disposing of the businesses that do not fit strategically in [our] operations, that do not have the financial profile that we want,” he said during a financial call with investors, discussing Rovi’s fourth quarter 2013 results. “We know who we are and what we’re good at: discovery products [for] businesses. That’s where our focus will be.”

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CDSA Taps Richard Atkinson as New Chairman

February 12, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

The Content Delivery & Security Association (CDSA) Board of Directors has elected Adobe’s Richard Atkinson as its new chairman.

Atkinson, the global director of piracy conversion for Adobe, takes over for Microsoft’s James Dunkelberger, who led the organization the past two years. “To me, CDSA is one of the few associations that stitches together the entire entertainment and software industry, from movies and TV, to games, to music, to software,” Atkinson said.

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PwC: M&E CEOs Confronting Change

February 11, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Cindy McKenzie, managing director of media and communications for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), had a sit-down with a studio executive Feb. 10, and was told about a potential problem. A relatively new one.

It had nothing to do with theatrical piracy or the decline of disc sales. Instead it was a source of content studio executives might have scoffed at just a few years ago.

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Netflix, Amazon, Redbox All Mull Price Hikes

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

By Chris Tribbey

Netflix has been down this road before. And the company is praying this time will be different.

Following its ill-fated attempt in mid-2011 to split off its streaming and DVD-by-mail businesses — charging $7.99 for each — Netflix witnessed a subscriber revolt, losing more than 800,000 in just three months.

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Analyst, Retailer Back CEA UHD Report

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

By Chris Tribbey

When it comes to Ultra-HD TVs, seeing is believing, according to a new survey from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

The more opportunities consumers have to see these new 4K-resolution Ultra-HD (UHD) TVs, the better chance of success the format has, according to CEA, the group responsible for the annual International Consumer Electronics Show.

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Warner Hits Revenue High

February 5, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Time Warner enjoyed its best quarter ever in terms of revenue, bringing in $8.6 billion in the fourth quarter, up 5% from the previous year. The company did see its quarterly profit down, though, reporting income of $983 million, down from $1.11 billion.

“We had another very successful year in 2013, with Turner, HBO and Warner Bros. all posting record profits while also investing for future growth,” said company CEO Jeff Bewkes. “Adult Swim had the most-watched year in its history and ranked No. 1 on ad-supported cable among adults 18-34 in total day for the ninth year in a row.

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Adobe: Gaming Consoles Fastest Growing for Video Consumption

February 4, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Gaming consoles have become the fastest growing video consumption device with 365% year over year growth, according to a Feb. 4 report from Adobe.

Smartphones are growing faster than tablets when it comes to TV Everywhere and premium video consumption on second screens, gaining 3% market share in the fourth quarter to 31%, and viewing on Android devices is up more than double year over year.

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Net Neutrality Debate Heats Up

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

By Chris Tribbey

In the past week a petition with more than a million signatures was delivered to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging it to restore Net Neutrality; the FCC chairman vowed to make it a priority; and President Obama weighed in on the issue.

“Just two weeks after a federal court threw out the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules, we delivered petitions from more than 1 million people who support the freedom to connect and communicate online,” said Josh Levy, Internet campaign director for Free Press. “It’s time for the agency to correct its past mistakes, reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service, and restore Net Neutrality for good.”

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LA Film Czar and Anti-Piracy Spokesman Tom Sherak Dies

January 31, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Less than two months before passing away at the age of 68, film producer Tom Sherak told a gathering at the Content Delivery & Security Association’s (CDSA) Content Protection Summit that as “film czar” for the city of Los Angeles, he would take on runaway production costs for films and TV shows made there.

But he also had his eye on another problem facing the industry.

“I actually see piracy as a much bigger issue,” said Sherak at the Dec. 12 event.

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MPEG LA: Proposed HEVC Licensing Terms Benefit Everyone

January 30, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Since June 2012, patent packaging group MPEG LA has been working on establishing a pool license for the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) standard. With 25 companies agreeing on licensing terms this month — and a proposed HEVC license expected during the first half of 2014 — MPEG LA has made serious headway…

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ITA Revamps Mission, Partners with MESA

January 29, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

When the Interactive Television Alliance (ITA) first launched in 2002, Google wasn’t in the TV business, Netflix was still an unprofitable DVD-by-mail business, OTT services like Hulu didn’t exist, and the idea of “second screen” interaction with a mobile device was an unknown concept.

Times have changed, drastically. And the ITA has changed with it.

“We’ve always represented the larger ecosystem, and have been project based,” said ITA group CEO Allison Dollar. “What’s different now is that the industry finally has the infrastructure to create stable business models.  One-off experiments don’t work long term. Models have to be scalable. They have to be replicable.”

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E&Y Report Tackles Digital Challenges

January 28, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

A new report from Ernst & Young surveyed executives at more than 550 companies, analyzed secondary reports, includes nearly a dozen case studies, and comes up with one undeniable conclusion: media and entertainment companies are finally gotten fully behind digital.

“For a long time people out there have doubted whether the large media and entertainment companies are as agile as they need to be, as competitive as they need to be, in the digital space,” said Howard Bass, partner with Ernst & Young, which released the report “Sustaining Digital Leadership” Jan. 28.

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Dolby CEO Strikes Positive Tone, Despite Revenue, Profit Drops

January 24, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Both revenues and profit for Dolby Labs were down for its first fiscal quarter of 2014, but that didn’t prevent the company from sounding a positive note with its results.

Revenue for the quarter was $231.3 million (down from $236.6 million), with the company posting a profit of $60.6 million (down from $66.4 million). Licensing revenue accounting for $205.7 million. Broadcast revenue accounted for 36% of total licensing in the quarter, PC revenues accounted for 21%, consumer electronics accounted for 19% and mobile revenues accounted for 15%. Gaming and automotive — among others — accounted for approximately 9% of total licensing.

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Dolby CEO Strikes Positive Tone, Despite Revenue, Profit Drops

January 24, 2014 · Posted in M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Both revenues and profit for Dolby Labs were down for its first fiscal quarter of 2014, but that didn’t prevent the company from sounding a positive note with its results.

Revenue for the quarter was $231.3 million (down from $236.6 million), with the company posting a profit of $60.6 million (down from $66.4 million). Licensing revenue accounting for $205.7 million. Broadcast revenue accounted for 36% of total licensing in the quarter, PC revenues accounted for 21%, consumer electronics accounted for 19% and mobile revenues accounted for 15%. Gaming and automotive — among others — accounted for approximately 9% of total licensing.

“I’m pleased with the continued growth in our mobile and broadcast businesses,” said Dolby CEO Kevin Yeaman, speaking during a conference call with investors. “We have made progress in bringing new technology to the market, including our enhanced imaging technologies and Dolby Voice.”

Mobile revenues were up 40% year over year, and Dolby technologies are now used by five of the seven most-used over-the-top services in the U.S., he added. In Japan, Amazon Instant Video has begun streaming using Dolby technology to the Kindle Fire HDX, HBO Go is now using Dolby in the Nordics.

“Currently, nearly all of the Hollywood studios participating in UltraViolet are using Dolby Digital Plus.,” he added.

Regarding broadcast, Yeaman said 52 of 86 high-def channels in China and 18 of 32 high-def channels in India are using Dolby’s audio format. For cinema, approximately 330 screens worldwide are using Dolby Atmos audio, with more than 100 titles released or announced using the audio technology.

During this month’s International Consumer Electronics Show, Dolby showed off its Dolby Vision technology, an end-to-end video technology that promises better color and brighter highlights, with Sharp and TCL integrating Dolby Vision in their TVs this year.

“Also at CES, nine TV manufacturers, including Sharp, Vizio and Changhong, showcased TVs with Dolby glasses-free 3D technology,” Yeaman said. “We expect to see TVs shipping by the end of 2014 with this technology.”

Netflix Talks 4K, Net Neutrality, HBO Go

January 23, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

While discussing the company’s better-than-expected fourth quarter financial results, Netflix executives also shared their thoughts on the future of 4K, what the net neutrality ruling means for the company, and took a dig at competitor HBO and its HBO Go TV Everywhere offering.

The company posted a quarterly profit of $48 million on revenue of $1.18 billion, compared to $8 million in profit and $945 million in revenue during the same quarter in 2012.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings called it a “great start for the year” and that “we are excited about what’s unfolding.”

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IBM Profit Rises; Lenovo Reportedly Eyeing IBM Server Business

January 22, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

IBM reported a profit of $6.2 billion for the fourth quarter of 2013, up 6% year over year, on revenue of $27.7 billion, down 5%, with better revenues coming from the company’s software business segment, but also with hardware revenues down sharply.

Reports also surfaced that Chinese multinational technology company Lenovo is in talks to buy IBM’s server business, which was among the hardest hit in the fourth quarter financial report.

While revenues from IBM’s middleware products (WebSphere, Information Management, Tivoli, Social Workforce Solutions and Rational) was up 5% to $5.8 billion, IBM’s mainframe server products revenue was down 37%.

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IBM Profit Rises; Lenovo Reportedly Eyeing IBM Server Business

January 22, 2014 · Posted in M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

IBM reported a profit of $6.2 billion for the fourth quarter of 2013, up 6% year over year, on revenue of $27.7 billion, down 5%, with better revenues coming from the company’s software business segment, but also with hardware revenues down sharply.

Reports also surfaced that Chinese multinational technology company Lenovo is in talks to buy IBM’s server business, which was among the hardest hit in the fourth quarter financial report.

While revenues from IBM’s middleware products (WebSphere, Information Management, Tivoli, Social Workforce Solutions and Rational) was up 5% to $5.8 billion, IBM’s mainframe server products revenue was down 37%.

“In hardware, as you know, we went to the backend of the mainframe product cycle and we are dealing with some challenges in other areas,” said Martin Schroeter, IBM’s chief financial officer and SVP, during a conference call with investors. “IBM does have a resilient model based on continuous transformation and we are investing substantially in key opportunity areas.”

Recently, IBM has made major moves in the cloud-computing arena, announcing earlier this month a $1.2 billion investment to double its data centers, and for the quarter the company reported $4.4 billion of revenue for cloud solutions, up 69% year over year. “IBM will have cloud centers in every major geography and key financial center,” Schroeter added.

Still, the earnings report fell below analysts expectations, leading IBM CEO Ginni Rometty to forego her annual bonus.

Several news outlets said the sale of its hardware business would make sense, as the company focuses on its higher-margin software and services business.

“Over the years, it has been very clear to us that IBM has been divesting commodity parts of the portfolio to focus on higher value-add areas such as software, services, or next-generation computing, such as cognitive computing — for example, the Watson supercomputer,” Brian White, an analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald, told The Street.

IBM earlier this month announced a $1 billion-plus investment to launch a new IBM Watson Group to create cognitive computing services, software and apps.

Verizon Reports Higher Earnings, Acquires Intel Media

January 21, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Verizon Communications Jan. 21 shared both higher earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter and the news it was acquiring Intel Media, Intel’s division dedicated to cloud TV products and services, including the OnCue cloud TV platform.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

OnCue was intended to be Intel’s answer to Netflix and other video services, but never got off the ground. Verizon intends to integrate Intel Media’s intellectual property into its own FiOS video service, promising better search and discovery, more interactivity and more second screen opportunities.

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A Potential 4K Problem?

January 20, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

John Batter, CEO of M-Go, the transactional VOD content service backed by DreamWorks Animation and Technicolor, had every reason to smile at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

Standing in front of a 4K TV at the sprawling Samsung booth, Batter showed off an upgraded, more user-friendly interface for M-Go, which had just announced a new 4K streaming service exclusively through Samsung.

“We think it’s really visually [unique],” he said of the 4K service, which will offer a combination of native 4K and up-scaled 4K movies, from Fox, Paramount and other studios. “Our plan is to build it up aggressively. We’ve got discussions going on with everyone right now.”

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BluFocus Takes on UltraViolet Verification Program

January 17, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Longtime Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) member BluFocus has just been tasked with managing all aspects of DECE’s Compliance Verification Program (CVP) for UltraViolet.

That means making sure every licensor with the cloud-based digital content service — content owners, retailers, download and streaming service providers and hardware companies — is in compliance with DECE’s mandatory requirements.

“We are very excited about this opportunity,” said Juan Reyes, chief technology officer for BluFocus. “We’ve been involved with DECE for quite some time around UltraViolet, and what this allows us to do is work very closely with all the licensees in helping them get through the CVP process in as painless a manner and as quickly as they possibly can, to ensure their implementations are compliant with the DECE specifications.”

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IHS: Digital Helped Home Entertainment in 2013

January 16, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

A second set of numbers analyzing the state of the home entertainment industry in 2013 has concluded the same thing: digital is helping to make up for the decline in disc sales.

The numbers from IHS Technology put home entertainment spending at $18.3 billion in 2013, a 1% growth year over year and up markedly from the $17.6 billion in spending in 2011.

Internet content sales ($1.3 billion) and Internet rentals ($600 million) saw the biggest jumps in revenue, 39% and 40%, respectively, and subscription VOD was up 31% to $3.1 billion.

Pay TV VOD saw minor growth at $1.48 billion, up from $1.47 billion in 2012.

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Net Neutrality Ruling a Negative for Netflix

January 15, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

A Jan. 14 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck down Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules requiring Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to stay neutral when it comes to regulating Internet traffic.

And that could prove costly for the likes of Netflix and other streaming services, analysts agreed.

Known as net neutrality, the FCC regulations, first implemented in 2011, called for a non-discrimination policy for ISPs when it came to regulating Internet traffic by its consumers, whether it be file sharing or subscription VOD services.

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Net Neutrality Ruling a Negative for Netflix

January 15, 2014 · Posted in M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

A Jan. 14 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck down Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules requiring Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to stay neutral when it comes to regulating Internet traffic.

And that could prove costly for the likes of Netflix and other streaming services, analysts agreed.

Known as net neutrality, the FCC regulations, first implemented in 2011, called for a non-discrimination policy for ISPs when it came to regulating Internet traffic by its consumers, whether it be file sharing or subscription VOD services.

The Jan. 14 ruling opens the doors for ISPs to discriminate on what Web sites and services consumers use, potentially allowing ISP companies like Verizon — which has a deal with kiosk operator Redbox to deliver the Redbox Instant Video content service — to discriminate against the likes of Netflix, in favor of its own service.

“This means that ISPs can charge content providers for preferential treatment, and means that they can charge based upon the data transmitted,” said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter, in a note to investors. “As a practical matter, this ruling will impact those Web sites that transmit the most data, so sites that stream video content (particularly in high definition) will potentially feel the most significant impact.”

ISPs still charged subscribers fees based on data consumption, before Tuesday’s ruling, but faced severe limitations on how they handled the sites and services that accessed their networks.

“This can be read both ways for Netflix,” Pachter said. “It is arguable that Netflix might be able to obtain preferential treatment by paying to ensure that its streams queue faster or stream faster and in higher fidelity than its competitors.

“However, we expect ISPs to behave as if they were profit motivated, and think that they will seek to extract as much value from all websites as the court’s ruling will permit. We think it is far more likely that Netflix will see its users throttled by ISPs unless they pay for unrestricted delivery. In our view, it is most likely that ISPs would seek to extract a set fee per gigabyte (GB) of data transmitted.”

That could prove very costly for Netflix, which may have to pass on those higher costs to its 40-million-plus subscribers.

It was Verizon Communications that challenged the FCC’s ability to levy the net neutrality rules in the first place, and the appeals court agreed in it ruling.

“One thing is for sure: Today’s decision will not change consumers’ ability to access and use the Internet as they do now,” Randal Milch, Verizon’s EVP of public policy, and general counsel said in a statement. “The court’s decision will allow more room for innovation, and consumers will have more choices to determine for themselves how they access and experience the Internet.

“Verizon has been and remains committed to the open Internet, which provides consumers with competitive choices and unblocked access to lawful websites and content when, where and how they want. This will not change in light of the court’s decision.”

Technicolor Shows off HDR Video Tech

January 14, 2014 · Posted in M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

With more 4K displays coming out of the woodwork, Paris-based Technicolor wants to make sure the Ultra-HD content is coming across as beautiful as possible.

The company showed off its High Dynamic Range (HDR) video technologies on the final day of the International Consumer Electronics Show. Technicolor’s HDR solutions intend to improve the brightness and contrast of both high-def and 4K images, a spokesman said, by using a flexible compression technology that works with existing infrastructures.

“It works with any format, not tied down,” the spokesman said. “It delivers better and brighter pixels. A lot of people don’t choose to watch things like fireworks on TV because the details just don’t come across. HDR solves that.”

To deliver HDR-enabled content, Technicolor has developed its own proprietary compression solution, intended to solution that “provides high performance with robustness for a wide range of operating points from high to low bit-rates and bit-depths,” the company said.

“It’s a huge amount of data, so we need to compress it, without hurting the pixels, and keeping the overall quality of the video,” the spokesman said.

Technicolor is also taking its HDR solution to the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG), for possible inclusion in the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) compression standard.

In other Technicolor news, the company announced that consumer electronics company Seiki has received Technicolor 4K Image Certification for its video processing HDMI cables and adapters, which up-converts high-def content to 4K.

“Broadcast 4K is still in the future and a real 4K Blu-ray Disc player isn’t here yet,” the Technicolor spokesman said. “The idea behind the certification program is to put our stamp on upscaling to 4K content.”

Technicolor introduced its 4K certification program in 2013.

“Seiki’s new U-Vision up-conversion HDMI products will empower 4K Ultra-HD TV owners to create and experience the highest quality digital entertainment at home without waiting for 4K content,” said Frank Kendzora, EVP for Seiki. “With Technicolor 4K Image Certification and advanced 4K video processing technology, Seiki aims to make today’s 4K Ultra-HD TVs more practical for the home, and at the same time build consumer confidence about 4K Ultra-HD as the next TV standard.”

Technicolor Shows off HDR Video Tech

January 14, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

With more 4K displays coming out of the woodwork, Paris-based Technicolor wants to make sure the Ultra-HD content is coming across as beautiful as possible.

The company showed off its High Dynamic Range (HDR) video technologies on the final day of the International Consumer Electronics Show. Technicolor’s HDR solutions intend to improve the brightness and contrast of both high-def and 4K images, a spokesman said, by using a flexible compression technology that works with existing infrastructures.

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How the Media Saw CES

January 13, 2014 · Posted in M&E Daily, M&E Exclusive · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

With the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in the books, the media that was in attendance is busy dissecting the show, offering opinions on what worked and what didn’t.

Ultra HD TVs and curved screens grabbed the most headlines, but media was mixed on whether either has a real future in consumer homes.

Among the more thorough news organizations covering CES was Engadget.com, which shared more than 560 event posts, nearly 250 photo galleries and more than 120 videos.

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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.

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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…

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