Visual Unity Hosts ‘Entertainment vs. Internet’ Discussion

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

Multiscreen content solution provider Visual Unity will host a webinar Dec. 5 discussing the constant changes in content distribution and the often-adversarial relationship between traditional broadcast and over the top (OTT) services. Gabriel Dusil, chief marketing and corporate strategy officer for Visual Unity, will lead the discussion, which will cover changing consumer behaviors, the ongoing friction between the communication, computing and entertainment industries, and OTT’s future potential. To register for the free webinar, click here.

 

NBC Sports Sees Record Traffic

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

NBC Sports’ digital properties enjoyed its best month ever in October, with nearly 130 million site visits, and triple-digit growth for its live video and VOD offerings, according to data from Adobe Reports & Analytics. NBCSports.com also had its best month ever in terms of unique visitors (22.1 million) and total visits (57 million), while the company’s fantasy sports site also hit a record, with 28.6 million visits. ProFootballTalk (33.7 million), HardBallTalk (5.3 million) and OlympicsTalk (1.5 million) all had a record month in terms of site visits.

 

Akamai to Acquire Prolexic for $370 Million

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

By Chris Tribbey

Content delivery network company Akamai Technologies has agreed to acquire Prolexic Technologies for $370 million in cash, bolstering its online security solutions profile.

Hollywood, Fla.-based Prolexic specializes in cloud-based security for protecting data centers and enterprise IP apps from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

The acquisition is expected to close during the first half of 2014.

“We believe that acquiring Prolexic is an important step forward towards Akamai’s goal of making the Internet fast, reliable and secure,” said Akamai CEO Tom Leighton, during a conference call with investors. “Any company doing business on the Web faces an ever-evolving threat landscape aimed at disrupting operations, defacing the brand and stealing sensitive data.

“By joining forces with Prolexic, we intend to combine Akamai’s leading security and performance platform with Prolexic’s highly-regarded DDoS mitigation solutions for data center and enterprise applications protection. We believe that Prolexic’s solutions and team will help us achieve our goal of making the Internet fast, reliable, and secure.”

Akamai’s online security platform consists of more than 140,000 servers distributed in over 1,200 networks worldwide, but its current offerings don’t cover non-Web applications and don’t protect a customer’s data center or IP address space. Prolexic brings solutions for the protection of non-Web-based applications such as Citrix, e-mail, VPNs and file transfers. The company also operates an around-the-clock security operations center.

Prolexic employs more than 200 people, “who we believe will fit extremely well within Akamai’s innovation-driven culture,” Leighton said. Prolexic’s employees are expected to be integrated into Akamai’s security division.

“Today, business is defined by the availability, security and latency of Internet-facing applications, data and infrastructure,” said Prolexic CEO Scott Hammack. “Being able to rely on one provider for Internet performance and security greatly simplifies resolution of network availability issues and offers clients clear lines of accountability. We believe that, together, we will be able to deliver an unprecedented level of network visibility and protection.”

Home Entertainment in the Black Friday Spotlight

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

By Jeffrey Hyatt

Step aside turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie, and bring on the tablets, PCs, game consoles and TVs. Black Friday is only hours away and retail stores coast to coast are set to offer big discounts to customers willing to dive in to the sea of shopping madness.

With the recent debuts of Xbox One and PS4, gaming is ranking high on the to-buy list for many consumers. All Things D posted a helpful video game console buyers guide to help shoppers find the right console for the gamers in the family.

According to CNET, 40 percent of tech shoppers will buy tablets this holiday season. “That’s nearly twice as many tablets as any other device, with 23 percent shopping for phones, 20 percent for computers, and 17 percent for headphones.” Expect plenty of deals, and excitable shoppers, surrounding the latest tablets on Friday.

For shoppers looking to stock up on hot DVD titles, NPD says to expect more discounted prices on Black Friday. “Black Friday over the years has been synonymous with entertainment retailers blowing out catalog discs while keeping fresher content priced at a premium. That trend is going away as retailers increasingly lower pricing on recent content.”

Of course the big box retailers are preparing for a wild Black Friday, which is especially important this year considering the six-day shorter shopping period between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

USA Today has a good article on Target’s Black Friday strategy, “bombarding consumers with a string of deals and promotions in-store and over multimedia channels.”

“Demographics are changing as Black Friday starts earlier: Last year, 36 percent of Millennials- those between age 18 and 34- shopped on Thanksgiving Day, according to the National Retail Federation. With these young shoppers and a nation increasingly connected through smartphones, Target is adopting mobile full force.”

Forbes offers up Black Friday tidbits and predictions – from the rise of “webrooming” to the advent of “digital moms” – for both retailers and consumers, while CNBC simply asks: Why do we do it?

“Black Friday isn’t the biggest shopping day of the year, in terms of revenue generated, but it’s certainly one of the most anticipated—and hectic. Despite all the hype about Black Friday savings, there’s a sense among some retail analysts that most people are driven to the stores by the social aspect of shopping this way”

Leon Nicholas, retail consultant with Kantar Retail: “It’s become a cultural phenomenon. People want to be part of some larger, cultural event. Black Friday has become a holiday, quite frankly.”

Shoppers camped out in store parking lots can pull up this Mashable article on their smartphones and read about new same-day delivery options this holiday season.

“Several big name tech companies and startups are ramping up their same-day delivery operations in cities across the country ahead of the holiday shopping rush in an effort to increase awareness for these relatively new services and boost the rate of consumer adoption.”

Spotify Exec Joins film2home

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

Ulrika Lindwall, former Director of International Growth at Spotify, has been named CEO of film2home.

Currently available in Sweden(.se), Norway(.no), Denmark(.dk) and Finland(.fi), film2home, owned by Hemmakväll and Bonver Group, is one of Scandinavia’s leading companies for online movie streaming. The video-on-demand service provides an online platform to rent or download movies through a broadband connection.

“film2home had a great start and enjoyed vigorous growth during the past year and quickly established itself as the best choice when renting the latest movies” said Gerard Versteegh , founder film2home. “Now we will take another step in the right direction and show the crowd that film is easiest consumed digitally, just like Spotify has done with music. We believe that Ulrika is the right person to lead that operation. ”

Remarking that it’s “great to have the confidence to take the baton in film2home,” Lindwall goes on to say that with the platform film2home has built, their skilled team and strong principal owners, film2home has the potential to make it to the next level.

She added: “My experience from launching media services to consumers will come to good use in this role.”

10th Annual Digital Asset Management Event Set for Nov. 14-15 in Los Angeles

November 8, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

Leading Digital Asset Management (DAM) executives will gather next week at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza to share best practices and expertise representing all sectors of the digital media ecosystem, from media & entertainment and publishing to retail, education and government.

Senior executives from major motion picture studios, consumer electronics companies, retail brands, broadcast networks and gaming companies will explore key topics such as: Building DAM capability, rights management and digital content, metadata, brand workflows and case studies and more. The two-day program will also showcase leading technology solution providers.

“DAM’s impact on the landscape of modern life is all pervasive: e-books, Netflix, Instagram, I-everything, 3-D printing on demand, mass personalization, electronic signs, and how we market wines; DAM is essential to each and every one of them, and to many, many more offerings,” says Conference Chairman David Lipsey, Partner, Optimity Advisers. “This year at DAM LA I am particularly looking forward to hearing more about advances in the DAM community’s work in metadata and its importance to success in taking advantage of new business opportunities – for brands and the entire media & entertainment community.”

HITS and MESA are proud to be media partners for the DAM LA event. To receive a discount on registration, use code “MESA 50” and click here to register.

Watchdox and FactoryMade Explore Content Security In the Enterprise

November 4, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

Increased collaboration, the cloud and mobility have highlighted unique challenges in the evolving need for protecting valuable pieces of the entire content production puzzle.  From scripts to contracts to budgets and other vital information, there is an unprecedented need to understand who has access to, and is utilizing, the critical assets that drive your core business, with your customers and partners.

Join us this Wednesday, November 6th at 11 a.m. Pacific/2 p.m. Eastern as FactoryMade joins Watchdox to discuss their approach to a secure, collaborative enterprise working environment. FactoryMade works with global clients such as Telefonica, Hasbro, RTL Group and Intel as well as prolific, established artists including Michael Bay, Robert Rodriguez, Thom Beers and Whoopi Goldberg.  Learn how they work together with Watchdox to close security gaps around file sharing in the enterprise and drive usability and security on every device.

To learn more about the event and to register click here.

8th Annual HPA Awards Announce Presenters

October 31, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

Hollywood Post Alliance® – the trade association for the post production community – has announced a stellar industry lineup of presenters for the HPA Awards next week. The event will unfold at The Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, CA, on November 7th, 2013. The organization also announced that ticket sales are well underway and the event is expected to sell out.

The HPA Awards were conceived to recognize the achievements of those individuals who work behind the scenes, with ingenuity and creativity, to create motion pictures, commercials and television programming. The HPA Awards are the unofficial launch of Hollywood’s awards season, which culminates in the Oscars. Honors will be given in 12 craft categories covering motion pictures, commercials and television.

An all-star group of presenters will be on hand, including Todd London, SVP, VFX & Post Production Feature Films at Walt Disney Studios, Salvatore Totino, ASC, AIC (Frost/Nixon, Cinderella Man, Any Given Sunday), Stephen Rivkin, A.C.E. (Avatar, Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy), Dauri Chase (co-producer of the Newsroom, Post Producer at HBO Television) and Kevin Tent, A.C.E. (Nebraska, The Descendents, Sideways.) Former HPA Lifetime Achievement Winner Ted Gagliano, President of Post-production at 20th Century Fox, will be on hand to present honors in the visual effects categories. Special honors will be bestowed during the evening, including the HPA Engineering Excellence Award sponsored by NAB Show.  The Charles S. Swartz Award for Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Post Production will be presented to Avid by Oscar-winning editor William Goldenberg, A.C.E. (Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, Transformers: Dark of the Moon). Louis Hernandez, Jr, President and CEO of Avid, will accept the award on behalf of the company.

The HPA Awards, held at the Skirball since their inception in 2006, begin with a pre-show reception, followed by a 90-minute awards show, and end with a celebratory cocktail party. The gala evening is an engaging and community centered event that brings out the entire post production community.

Tickets for the HPA Awards consistently sell out, and early purchase is highly recommended. 2013 HPA Awards show tickets are available at http://hollywoodpostalliance.org/.  For questions regarding ticket purchases call 213-614-0860 or write to info@hpaawards.net. Press inquiries should be directed to Christine Purse or Mimi Rossi at ignite, 818.980.3473 or email mimi@ignite.bz.

Hollywood Post Alliance Honors Avid with the Charles S. Swartz Award

October 15, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

The Hollywood Post Alliance® – the trade association for the post production community – has announced that Avid® will receive the 2013 Charles S. Swartz Award for Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Post Production. The HPA will present the honor during the 8th Annual HPA Awards, which takes place on the evening of November 7th, 2013 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, CA.  Louis Hernandez, Jr, President and CEO of Avid, will accept the award on behalf of the company.

Leon Silverman, President of the HPA, commented on the award, “From its founding days to the present, Avid has not only helped to lead our industry’s transition to new, powerful digital creative tools, but has also expanded the creative image and sound post production palette in a way that has fundamentally enabled new creative abilities. Building on their strong heritage of innovation, it is exciting to see Avid’s ongoing dedication to our community.”

Recognized as a leading provider of audio and video technology for media organizations and content creators, Avid’s tools and products are widely used by creative and media professionals around the world to make, distribute and monetize content. Avid led the revolution in non-linear editing over 25 years ago, irrevocably changing the way that creative projects were finished. Unveiling a prototype of their first non-linear editing system – the avid/I – at the 1988 NAB, within just a few years Avid’s category-defining products began to dethrone traditional film editing. Non-linear digital editing came to be the predominant standard, and the company has continually exerted its influence through its extensive R&D, development of IP, and expansion into audio production, broadcast, and live sound.  The company’s products have been recognized with numerous industry and technology awards, including 2 OSCARS® a GRAMMY®, and 14 EMMYS®.  The company holds over 200 patents.

Hernandez said of the award, “We are deeply honored to receive this award, and are especially proud to be recognized by the HPA, the voice of the post community. The post production industry has always been a source of innovation and inspiration.  From the beginning, Avid has had deep roots within this community and, we are dedicated to being your trusted partner long into the future.”

The award was named in honor of the late Charles S. Swartz, who led the Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California from 2002 until 2006, helping to build it into the industry’s premier test bed for new digital cinema technologies.

Charles was a member of the Hollywood Post Alliance Board of Directors until his passing in 2007. The Charles S. Swartz Award is not bestowed every year, but rather only as worthy recipients are identified. Silverman concluded, “The mission of the Charles S Swartz Award is to recognize those efforts that have had profound and global impact on post production. Avid, throughout its 25-plus year history, has impacted our post production community so significantly that they indeed exemplify the meaning of this Award and so honor the memory of our friend and colleague Charles Swartz.”

Tickets for the HPA Awards are available now and can be purchased online at www.hpaawards.net. For further information about tickets or the Awards Show call HPA at 213.614.0860 or write to info@hpaawards.net.

mPortal Releases White Paper on Mobile Business Communication

October 3, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

The Bring Your Own Device trend (BYOD) has transformed how corporate IT departments support employees and their communication and connectivity needs. With employees relying on different device operating systems, cloud-based services and installing applications directly from the Internet, BYOD was originally a major headache for IT managers. More recently, however, businesses have come to recognize the productivity advantages of mobile technology and the potential cost savings from employees buying their own devices.

To fully realize those benefits, however, businesses need a common communications platform to connect employees using a wide variety of devices to each other and to Over-the-Top (OTT) cloud-based services. Enter “cloud-based” communications (CaaS – Communications as a Service).

According to a free white paper released by mPortal on Mobile Collaborative Communications, CaaS can help businesses integrate and synchronize not only voice, video, messaging and email, but also back-end systems such as Salesforce, Intuit and other social and business apps. Integrating, unifying and managing their own mobile services is not what most businesses want or need to focus on, as communication has become more complex than just voice.

SMBs in particular don’t have the resources of larger organizations who may be able to invest in their own IT departments to help install and manage mobile solutions. Thus, the combination of increasingly available mobile broadband networks, ever improving smartphones and tablets, and cloud-driven apps and services are driving SMBs to the be the early movers. In 2013, IDC predicts US small business adoption of tablets will grow from 4.9 million to 10.4  million.

Click HERE to download the free white paper – Mobile Collaborative Communications.

A New Big Bang: Battles Over Streaming Rights Pave Way for Direct-to-Consumer

September 20, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

By Colleen Quinn, Teradata Corporation

It was the pen-stroke heard around Hollywood. CBS and Time Warner had (finally) reached agreement about retransmission fees. Viewers from coast-to-coast exhaled a collective sigh of relief, and switched on Pro Football.

One term at issue? The big per-subscriber fee hike that CBS demanded, aiming to double their carriage fees over the 5-year term. While a huge boost in revenue is always worthwhile, CBS’ negotiations hinged on a term that is much more interesting. They wanted to retain streaming rights.

Here’s why. Increasingly, streaming rights are the gateway to commanding your future. With them, content owners can seek the best opportunities to fully monetize content across every channel. But, more importantly, streaming rights often pave the way for content owners into the direct-to-consumer fray.

Read the complete post here

Digital Marketing & Analytics Summit on Tap For Sept. 27th

September 17, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

Digital distribution channels are the fastest growing segment of the M&E business, but they are creating new challenges for content owners and distributors with respect to marketing, delivery and analytics. On September 27th, the Hollywood IT Society and Variety are teaming up to tackle some of those challenges at the Digital Marketing and Analytics Summit at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles.

The summit will feature a keynote interview with Michael Tritter, senior VP of interactive marketing for Warner Bros. Worldwide Marketing, conducted by Variety editor-in-chief for digital Andrew Wallenstein.

Tritter oversees interactive marketing for Warner Bros.’ theatrical releases, including online creative, publicity, media, social media, mobile, and promotional applications and games. He has worked on various aspects of all of the studio’s online campaigns since he joined the company as part of the team that built some of the earliest film web sites in 1996. He and Wallenstein will discuss the growing complexity of movie marketing in a world of multi-platform distribution, shrinking windows and growing competition for consumers’ attention.

Other topics that will be covered at the day-long summit include engaging with digital consumers, using data to predict box office, scaling platforms for global distribution, digital asset management, advanced analytics and more. 

Top-level speakers scheduled to appear at the summit include: 

Bruce Bleasdale, Vice President, Technology Solutions Delivery, The Walt Disney Company
James Brennan, Executive Director, TV Marketing Business Development, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Jennifer Cooper, Director Media & Entertainment Strategy, Adobe
Jennifer Klawin, Director of West Coast Sales, Tumblr
Prof. Jonathan Taplin, Director, Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, USC
Tom Roach, Vice President, Worldwide Theatrical Distribution, Marketing and Production, Warner Bros.
James Brennan, Executive Director, TV Marketing Business Development, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Manish Jha, General Manager, Mobile, NFL
Alex Grossman, Vice President, Quantum , Big Data , Media And Entertainment , Quantum
Charles Matheson, Industry Strategist, Media & Entertainment, OpenText
Veda Narayanan, Director IT, Creative & Product Development Systems, Disney Technology Solutions & Services
Wesley Simpson, Vice President Media Asset Management, Turner Broadcasting Systems
Girish Bettadpur, Product Line Director, Akamai
Jamie Gallagher, Sales Consulting Manager, Value Chain Planning Applications, Oracle
Dominique Hanssens, Bud Knapp Professor of Marketing – UCLA Anderson
Richard Maraschi, Global Solutions Leader, Big Data & Analytics, IBM
Michael Crooks, Pracitce Executive, Social Enterprise, Industry Consulting Services, Communications, Media & Entertainment, HP Enterprise Services
Steven Worling, Senior Director, Information Technology, NASCAR
Girish Bettadpur, Product Line Director, Akamai
Tiran Dagan, IBM Global Business Services Strategy & Transformation Partner, IBM
Matt Corodimas, Senior Account Executive for Media & Entertainment, OpenText
Charles Matheson, Industry Strategist, Media & Entertainment, OpenText
Nicolas Beraudo, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Sales, General Manager US, AppAnnie

The full program is available here.

Click here to register now for the Digital Marketing & Analytics Summit on September 27 in Los Angeles.

2013 HPA Awards Announce Craft Category Nominees and Special Award Winners

September 4, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

In an exclusive online press event today, the Hollywood Post Alliance® – the trade association for the post production community – announced the nominees for the craft categories of the 8th Annual HPA Awards in addition to winners of several special awards. The HPA Awards honor excellence in post-production while bringing recognition to the achievements of individuals and companies who are engaged in significant and revolutionary work in post-production. The HPA Awards will take place on the evening of November 7th at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

This year’s awards garnered an unsurpassed number of entries in all categories. The nominees in the 12 craft categories were chosen from a field of talented and innovative entries in color grading, editing, sound, and visual effects for motion pictures, commercials and television.

Tickets for the HPA Awards are available now and can be purchased online at www.hpaawards.net or by calling the HPA at 213.614.0860 or writing info@hpaawards.net.

For a complete list of nominees and winners, click here.

Saffron Digital delivers Stage OTT platform to IBC in Amsterdam

August 22, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

It takes a lot of confidence in the online entertainment market to devote two years and $20 million (£12.75 million) to the development of an end-to-end video platform for premium content. London-based Saffron Digital has done just that with Stage, which it describes as the industry’s first true end-to-end solution for premium OTT. It combines all the tools required to launch a multi-platform OTT entertainment service or UltraViolet storefront and is aimed at retailers, MSOs, TV broadcasters, mobile network operators and content owners that are seeking to launch new services or upgrade to the latest technology with the minimum of upfront investment.

Stage encompasses a suite of products that includes MainStage for the creation of OTT services, MainStage UV for the creation of an UltraViolet storefront and BackStage, a custom content-management system (CMS). StagePlay is a device player that uses Saffron Digital’s own technology to control every key component of content delivery, ensuring the optimum user experience. StageCraft provides automated ingest, transcoding and encryption of content.

CEO Jason Keane told MESA Europe that Saffron Digital is in an intensely competitive market and the only way to compete was for the seven-year old company to take a step back and re-invest in technology and innovation. “We have invested a significant amount of time and money over the last two years into building an end to end solution that is truly best in class. With our new Stage platform and a management team that has come from leading companies across the industry, we have the technology and experience to deliver at scale for the world’s largest media companies. In 2011 we built a five year business plan to build a $100m company within five years and after stellar financial results in 2012 and the launch of Stage we’re well on track to becoming to reaching our goal,” he said.

Visitors to IBC 2013 can see the results for the first time on the Connected World stage and on the Saffron Digital stand 14.154 at the RAI centre in Amsterdam, from 12-17 September. There is a very special offer for any company booking an appointment before IBC begins. Saffron Digital will build a branded digital video application for each company that books a meeting in advance and mentions MESA Europe.

For more information click here.

German Home Video Market Breaking all Records and Preparing For UltraViolet Launch

August 19, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

Recent data released by the German home video industry body BVV show first half results reaching an all time high. Video turnover for Jan-June 2013 hit €798M, surpassing previous highest first half results (€751M in 2005) by some margin.

Sales of Blu-ray discs into the sell-through market grew by a massive 41% compared to the same period of 2012. Meanwhile total turnover in digital (sell-through and rental) expanded by almost 50% compared to 2012 first half, reaching €77M.

“The German video market is without doubt one of the strongest performing territories worldwide” said David Millar, Communications Director at MESA Europe, “and the appetite that the German consumer consistently shows for new technologies makes this an exciting time to be talking about launching UltraViolet in the region”.

In order to support this launch leading executives from Germany’s home video industry will participate in a panel at the Academy on UltraViolet in London on 11th September, reviewing the prospects for UltraViolet and analysing the key success factors in the fast growing German market.  Confirmed panellists from the major studios are Andreas Bork, Head Of Digital & Online GSA of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Kai Marner, Marketing Director of Warner, and they will be joined by representatives from VOD providers; Hans Hanseleit, Managing Director of Videociety and Konrad Best, Director Offer & Content of MaxDome.

For further information on the event or to register, click here.

M&E Journal: Time-Based Metadata and the Emerging Video Landscape

August 8, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

By Zane Vella, Founder and Chief Product Officer, Watchwith

Over the last decade a familiar battle cry of the digital media executive was “Anytime, Anywhere,” meaning the promise of digital for the consumer was to watch “what you want, when you want it.” And as we look around today, much of that future has arrived in the form of HBO Go, Netflix, Xbox, Xfinity – all popular on-demand services now available on tablets, phones, computers, game-consoles, Blu-ray Disc players, and connected TVs. So what’s next?

Introduction
As the MESA readership is well aware, much of the traditional entertainment distribution business is an analytic and strategic exercise in windowing and differentiation. In short, this means extracting greater return through enforced scarcity or by delivering added value through one or another distribution channels or partners. This article examines how and why time-based metadata is becoming a critical strategic asset for content owners, and how it enables new forms of windowing and differentiation across the digital distribution landscape.

Click here to read the complete article.

M&E Journal: The Future of Movie Sell-Through

July 25, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

By Tony Knight, Senior Product Manager, Rovi Corporation

The other day, I began to realize how much of the physical media that my generation took for granted would be completely absent from the lives of our children.  My four-year-old daughter Izzy, who was born the year the iPhone was first introduced, already has far different expectations on how content is created, transmitted and consumed.  For her, you never have to put anything in a machine to get something you want to come out on a screen.  For decades, the act of taking a picture, listening to music, or watching a film required the movement of something physical into the apparatus of something mechanical.  In the space of just a few short years, the relentless march of technology has separated content from the spinning gears they were previously bound to.

For a PDF of the full article, click here.

Digital Storage for Media and Entertainment Report For 2013 Released

July 24, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

By Jeff Hyatt

The 2013 edition of the Digital Storage for Media and Entertainment Report has been released by Coughlin Associates. The ninth annual report provides 179 pages of in-depth analysis of the role of digital storage in all aspects of professional media and entertainment.

Projections out to 2018 of digital storage demand for content capture, post-production, content distribution and content archiving are provided in 59 tables and 88 figures.

The report includes results from a 2013 survey of SMPTE, HPA and Digital Production Buzz members on their digital storage needs in these target segments (comparing the results to similar 2009, 2010 and 2012 surveys).

These surveys were used to refine the current report analysis from previous editions and track industry trends. The report benefited from input from many experts in the industry, which along with economic analysis and industry publications and announcements, was used to create the data including in the report.

Some highlights from the report:

• As image resolution and frame rates increases and as stereoscopic (and other multi-camera) video becomes more common, storage requirements explode.
• Several petabytes of storage may be required for a complete stereoscopic digital movie project at 4K resolution, and there is some production work as high as 8K.  Within 10 years we could see close to an Exabytes of content created in a single major movie project
• The development of 4K TV and other high-resolution venues in the home and in mobile devices will drive the demand for digital content (especially enabled by high HEVC (H.265) compression.
• Activity to create capture and display devices for 8K X 4K content is occurring with planned implementation in common media systems by the next decade
• Flash memory appears to be reaching tipping point in professional video cameras with survey results showing about 59% utilization in 2013 (growing from 2009, 2010 and 2012 survey results).  Flash memory is also playing a role in content distribution and post-production.
• Total media and entertainment storage revenue will grow more than 1.9 X between 2013 and 2018 (from $6.2 B to $11.9 B)

The 2013 Digital Storage for Media and Entertainment Report is now available from Coughlin Associates. To get a copy send a completed order form in the report brochure at http://www.tomcoughlin.com/techpapers.htm.

M&E Journal: From Silicon Valley to Hollywood, Mobile Revolutionizes the Way We Work

July 18, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

By Robin Daniels, Head of Enterprise Product Marketing, Box

Although Silicon Valley and Hollywood are close geographically and are both working toward bringing transformative experiences (content and apps) to market, they are vastly different digitally and philosophically. Hollywood’s success relies far more on the connections between individuals than market and technology strategies, rendering decision making complex – and the Valley’s direct-to-consumer, “execute without asking for permission” model doesn’t quite match with Hollywood’s “collaborate with everyone” mentality. However, one technology that has taken hold and shaken up both Silicon Valley and Hollywood is the use of mobile devices in business.

Half of all devices sold this year will be non-Windows based. Apple alone has sold more than 172 million iPhones and iPads in the last year and its iPhone business alone generated more revenue than all of Microsoft. More computing power and connectivity is in more hands, and in more ways, than ever before.

For a full PDF of the article, click here.

Even a Day Late and a Billion Dollars Short, Hulu Still Matters

July 15, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

By Colleen Quinn, Teradata Corporation 

In most cases, 70+ job openings at a sexy company which, with a few others, single-handedly helped redefine the Media and Entertainment landscape would be an indicator of growth. Not so in the case of Hulu.  I’d consider this more an indication of rudderlessness. Visionary CEO, Jason Kilar – my serious tech crush – has left the helm, along with many (if not most) of his right-hands. Hulu has been on-and-off the auction block for as long as anyone can remember.

Now, with a front-running bid on the table from DirecTV (along with a few other contenders) – and looming rumors that a deal will be done soon – it looks like Hulu’s days as a platform for Disney, Fox and NBC are numbered.

Ah. What a difference a couple of years make– $1 billion to be exact.  That’s the difference between the one-time price tag wooers were offering the OTT darling then and the rumored price on the table now.

Click here to read the full post!

Final Day To Submit Entries For Creative Categories For 8th Annual HPA Awards

July 12, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

Before you get your weekend started don’t forget that today is the final day for completing an online submission form in the creative categories for the 8th Annual HPA Awards.

The Creative Categories cover feature film, television and commercials and include Outstanding Color Grading, Editing and Sound, as well as an expanded Visual Effects category, which replaces the Compositing categories.

The HPA Awards will take place November 7, 2013 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. The event honors excellence in Color Grading, Editing, Sound, Visual Effects and Engineering. In addition, these special awards will be handed out:

· HPA Judges Award for Creativity and Innovation in Post Production

· Charles S. Swartz Award for Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Post Production

· Lifetime Achievement Award

The period of eligibility for the HPA Awards entries is Sept. 11, 2012 through Sept. 3, 2013.

Don’t miss your chance to put your work front and center for recognition by your peers.  Where your work stands tall, stand up and stand out at the Post Production Industry’s most prestigious honors event.

Click HERE to enter now!

For complete information on the HPA® Awards and to submit your entry please visit www.hpaawards.net.

Technicolor Hires Americo Silva As VP Americas For Connected Home Division

July 11, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

By Jeff Hyatt

Technicolor’s Connected Home Division has hired operations and supply chain veteran Américo Silva as Vice President Americas, Supply Chain & Manufacturing.

In his new role, Silva will oversee the operations group for the Americas, and manage supply chain, in-house manufacturing and contract manufacturing activities in the Americas.

Silva officially joins the Technicolor Connected Home Division on July 15. Previously, Silva served as Sr. VP Worldwide Operations for Paramount Pictures, managing the worldwide supply chain operations of the Home Entertainment Division.

“I am extremely excited with the opportunity to join a company that is not only a leader in the market it serves but also an inventive and dynamic organization, with significant growth opportunities,” Silva said. “In a way, I feel that I continue as part of the entertainment industry, as the focus is on designing and supplying devices that will deliver entertainment and information to consumer homes.”

Latin America is an important focus for the Connected Home Division, with its own facility in Brazil and contract manufacturers currently located in Argentina, Brazil  and Mexico. Silva is already familiar with Brazil’s supply chain industry having worked as General Manager for Sony DADC Brazil where he managed the restructuring of the division’s manufacturing, distribution and sales operations in Rio de Janeiro and Manaus, Brazil.

Two Weeks Remain To Enter The 8th Annual HPA Awards

July 2, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

It’s getting down to the wire.

The Hollywood Post Alliance has announced several important deadlines are fast approaching to submit entries for the 8th Annual HPA Awards.

The final entry deadline for the Creative Categories is July 12.

The Creative Categories cover feature film, television and commercials and include Outstanding Color Grading, Editing and Sound, as well as an expanded Visual Effects category, which replaces the Compositing categories.

In addition to the Creative Categories, the final entry deadline for both the Engineering Excellence Award and the HPA Judges Award for Creativity and Innovation is July 3.

The Engineering Excellence Award raises the profile of breakthrough technologies within the industry, spotlighting those who bring technical and creative ingenuity to the real world of post-production.

The HPA Judges Award for Creativity and Innovation in Post Production was conceived to recognize companies and individuals who have made significant achievements and pushed the envelope forward in post production, whether in creative storytelling and/or technical innovation.

The period of eligibility for the HPA Awards entries is Sept. 11, 2012 through Sept. 3, 2013.

The HPA Awards will take place November 7, 2013 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

Click HERE to enter now!

For more information please visit www.hpaawards.net, or call 213.614.0860.

MESA Europe Takes Significant Step In Its European Expansion Plans

June 26, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

MESA Europe has today confirmed the appointment of David Millar to enhance the team’s local activities.

David joins from Futuresource Consulting (previously Understanding and Solutions) where he steered much of the group’s work across the storage media, electronics and entertainment content sectors.

“In addition to excellent client management and networking skills, David brings a fluency in French, German and Italian, which will be a huge help as we strive to establish local groups throughout the leading European territories” said Jim Bottoms, Executive Director of MESA Europe. ”Our members have identified a need for local as well as regional support and our networking activities will reflect this moving forwards”

David has spoken at numerous events around the world and has been a regular contributor to the activities of a number of industry associations in the technology space.

“I am looking forward to making a major contribution to MESA’s planned growth, particularly in Continental Europe” said David Millar “and to working with my colleagues to expand on the membership services and support we are able to offer”.

Prior to joining Understanding and Solutions and Futuresource Consulting David and Jim worked together at Technology Consultants BIS.

Signiant Webcast with Library of Congress on Securing Digital Workflows Set For Wednesday, June 12

June 11, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

MESA and Signiant are proud to present their upcoming webinar, “Secure File Sharing in the Cloud,” scheduled for Wednesday, June 12 at 11 a.m. PT/ 2 p.m. ET.

The free webcast will feature a panel of experts who will share real-world examples of how to identify and overcome key security challenges in the digital workflow.

The webinar will illustrate the unique challenges faced by our nation’s repository of content and how they are meeting the task of securely compiling, distributing and archiving this enormous amount of content, data and information.

Webinar Topics Include:

  • The importance of actively managing content security in today’s world;
  • Challenges of sharing, controlling, and safeguarding digital content;
  • Considerations when securing your content sharing architecture;
  • How to safely and easily take advantage of the cloud to share your content.

MESA Executive Director Guy Finley will moderate the one-hour panel featuring Thomas Youkel, the Group Chief of Enterprise System Engineering at the Library of Congress, in a candid discussion with Steve Bono, CEO of Independent Security Evaluators and Signiant’s Chief Technology Officer, Ian Hamilton, on innovative approaches to managing large files utilizing secure media exchanges in private, public and hybrid cloud environments.

Click HERE to register for the free webcast. You can also visit  mesalliance.org/events/signiant-webcast/ to learn more.

Testronic Supports Voluntary Industry Agreement to Improve Energy Consumption of Complex Set-Top Boxes in the EU

June 7, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

Testronic Labs – the global leader in quality assurance, compliance, and certification services for consumer electronics, film and television, games, and enterprise – has been commissioned to enable standards and reporting for the Voluntary Industry Agreement (VIA). VIA was designed to support the achievement of the EU Action Plan for Energy Efficiency and the reduction of the potential environmental impact of Complex Set-Top Boxes (CSTBs). Testronic is working closely with CSTB service providers, equipment manufacturers, software providers, and component manufactures to support the goals of the VIA and help companies adhere to the terms of the agreement. The objective of the VIA, and the intention of the agreement signatories, is to move the industry and the devices that are central to it, towards environmentally sound practices which will ultimately be beneficial to consumers and other end users.

The VIA reflects an industry-wide commitment to reducing the potential environmental impact of CSTBs. Major European DTV operators are among the many signatories drawn from the spectrum of the CSTB industry, committed to achieving rapid and effective implementation of the VIA, while continuing to invest in and develop “best of class” CSTB products. It was important to include every step of the DTV ecosystem in the discussion, as the design of set-top boxes and other devices, as well as middleware applications, are all crucial to the effort.

As part of the VIA, every signatory submits the results of a series of tests, which are audited and reported by the industry group. The audits and reports are the core of the self-regulation project, and drive ongoing improvements in environmentally friendly business practices and products. Testronic, based on their exemplary track record and knowledge of the industry, has been asked to execute industry audits, which was managed by the Independent inspector. Testronic is the only company that can support all signatories with testing services for the VIA.

Johan Craeybeckx, CTO of Testronic, stated, “We have been happy to be involved with this project from the very early stages. It not only speaks to Testronic’s core capabilities, but it is the right thing to do. This VIA has put a strong foot forward to ensuring that the DTV industry is an environmentally friendly one. We are delighted to support these efforts and enjoy the opportunity to work with so many of our close colleagues at the many companies involved in the initiative.”

Universal Music, Dolby & QOL Support Pure Audio Group Launch

June 5, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

Following the successful initial releases of the exciting new audio format: High Fidelity Pure Audio in Paris last month, early reaction has been extremely positive. Universal, Dolby and QOL, the creators and driving forces behind this, have teamed up to create a collaborative industry group to drive this growing market.

“We have been thrilled with the incredible buzz generated among consumers and retailers worldwide following our Pure Audio releases” said Olivier Robert Murphy, Global Head of New Business at Universal Music and Chairman of the High Fidelity Pure Audio group. “I’m seeing first-hand the excitement created across the whole music Industry sectors as well as among those involved in Blu-ray. Companies are now recognising the format’s potential and the opportunity this represents.”

Jim Bottoms, who leads MESA Europe and has recently been appointed to spearhead the Blu-ray Disc Association’s local and industry activities, has been asked to run the High Fidelity Pure Audio group and its marketing and promotional activity moving forward.

The launch event will take place in London on Thursday 20th June followed by a drinks reception.

Attendance is  strictly limited and by invitation only. Should you be interested in attending or require more details on the event please contact Jim Bottoms at MESA Europe via email: jim@mesaeurope.org

Aspera to Showcase Digital Media Workflow and Broadcast IT Solutions at BroadcastAsia 2013

June 4, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

Aspera, Inc., creators of next-generation software technologies that move the world’s data at maximum speed, will showcase a complete portfolio of high-speed data transfer software and automation solutions for the broadcast and media industries, and share its expertise in powering digital media workflows across any type of infrastructure at BroadcastAsia (booth #5G2-05). Asia’s largest broadcast industry event takes place on June 18-21 at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

Cloud-based services have the ability to greatly speed production workflows, increase storage and computing capacity, foster collaboration and reduce infrastructure costs. As the leader in next-generation video and data transport technologies, Aspera has implemented advanced transport and workflow solutions for broadcasters and media companies throughout Asia such as, Amana Group, Arirang TV, Australian Broadcasting Company, Cinema Cloud, CJ PowerCast, Dubsat, Encompass Digital Media, Foxtel, MediaCorp, Phoenix TV and SBS. Aspera’s president, CEO and co-founder Michelle Munson, will share how companies are leveraging the cloud’s many benefits while using advanced technology to solve the technical bottlenecks that can slow its adoption.

  • Wednesday June 19—Munson will present on sports broadcasting in the cloud, exploring how high-speed transport technologies can enable broadcasters to take advantage of the cloud for ingest, management, storage and distribution of digital content. Munson will also present a case study on the UEFA Euro 2012 soccer tournament, taking a close look at how the LIVEX On Demand service was used for cloud-based content contribution, publishing and distribution.
  • Thursday June 20—Munson will participate in a power panel on “Is cloud broadcasting the future?” Alongside fellow panelists from Shanghai Media Group, Alcatel-Lucent and Shemaroo Entertainment, Munson will discuss issues such as the impact of cloud services on digital entertainment, barriers to rolling out cloud services for the broadcast industry, and strategies to enable the cloud for large-scale broadcast workflows.

At booth #5G2-05 Aspera will showcase the latest innovations in its comprehensive portfolio of high-speed file transfer and automation software that enable broadcasters and media enterprises to deploy on-premise, cloud-based or hybrid infrastructures for complex media workflows including:

Aspera Orchestrator – The Aspera file-based workflow automation platform has been enhanced with full failover support, integrated Active Directory and LDAP support, and multi-tenant capabilities. It also offers an expanded plug-in library for a host of leading transcoding, watermarking, quality control, antivirus, ad insertion, asset management and other solutions.

Aspera On DemandThe platform as a service (PaaS) enables media companies and content service providers to use high-speed fasp™ transport to ingest and distribute large files to and from the Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Windows Azure clouds, and integrate their platforms into media services running in the cloud.

Aspera faspex™ and Aspera Shares – Web applications and mobile clients for fast, ad-hoc file exchange enable collaborative, person-to-person workflows spanning on-premise, cloud and hybrid deployments. The faspex and Shares solutions are uniquely designed to allow media files to be securely transferred between any storage locations (on premise or in cloud) on behalf of users or project groups with privacy, security and fine-grained access control. Aspera will demonstrate sending via faspex dropboxes to Aspera Shares destinations by workgroup, full SAML integration for single sign-on, and configurable distribution lists.

Aspera Sync The high-performance (10-100X rsync), multidirectional file replication and synchronization solution for remote collaboration and disaster recovery scenarios offers full integration with Aspera Console for global visibility and control of sync sessions across the entire network, advanced file handling options such as file-level de-duplication eliminating unnecessary transfers and reducing storage use, and added support for OSX and Solaris in addition to Windows and Linux.

Aspera Drive - Aspera will preview high-speed synchronization from desktop to cloud with Aspera Drive. Completely integrated with the Aspera high-speed transfer platform, Aspera Drive offers integrated desktop and mobile browsing of remote files, drag-and-drop high-speed upload and download from cloud storage, background file synchronization, and sending and receiving of extremely large files and data sets at global distances for the ultimate secure file distribution experience.

faspex 4.0 – Aspera will preview faspex 4.0, a file sharing and package sending web application tier, which powers the Aspera Drive file-sharing ecosystem. A new project-based approach combines users and user groups with file and directory resources (“Shares”) into project collaboration spaces.

Beta versions of Aspera Drive and faspex 4.0 are expected to be available in Summer 2013.

MESA Announces Think Tank on Digital Content Management – June 18 in Burbank

May 21, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

Join MESA and HITS for an insightful Think Tank discussion on June 18 at 4 p.m. at the Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel. The Think Tank, “From Frame to Finish: What’s Your Digital Content Management Study?” will delve into the evolution and impact of file-based workflows and how they are influencing Hollywood.

From the first frame shot to the global distribution of finished product, every studio is adopting ways to tag, manage and ultimately, monetize their content throughout their new digital supply chain – from production through long-tail distribution.

The Think Tank will be highlighted by a panel of studio experts representing the different pieces of the digital supply chain who are key decision-makers for the content strategy of their organizations.

Mary Yurkovic, Digital Asset Management Community Builder and M&E Industry Consultant, recognized a need in the home entertainment space to bring people together, and is working with MESA and HITS to help organize the event in the hopes of tackling some of the industry’s pressing issues with content strategy.

“The Think Tank works because it gets some of the industry’s top visionary thought leaders together in a non-competitive environment to start to address the issues in the space, but also share some of the solutions that have been successful for them,” Yurkovic says.

The Burbank Think Tank is set for Tuesday, June 18 at 4 p.m. For more information, go to:

http://www.hollywooditsociety.com/events-2/hits-bt2/

To register, go to: https://sferainteractive.wufoo.com/forms/hits-burbank-think-tank/

The Hollywood Post Alliance Opens 2013 HPA Awards Call For Entries

May 16, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

The Hollywood Post Alliance® announces the opening of the Call for Entries for the 8th Annual HPA® Awards, which will take place on the evening of November 7th, 2013 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, CA. Considered the standard bearer for excellence and innovation, the HPA® Awards recognize the achievements of the individuals and companies that have contributed to groundbreaking technologies and creative excellence within the post production industry.

The HPA Awards invite entries in the following competitive categories:

  • Outstanding Color Grading-Feature Film
  • Outstanding Color Grading-Television
  • Outstanding Color Grading-Commercial
  • Outstanding Editing-Feature Film
  • Outstanding Editing-Television
  • Outstanding Editing-Commercial
  • Outstanding Sound-Feature Film
  • Outstanding Sound-Television
  • Outstanding Sound-Commercial
  • Outstanding Visual Effects-Feature Film
  • Outstanding Visual Effects-Television
  • Outstanding Visual Effects-Commercial
  • Engineering Excellence Award
  • HPA Judges Award for Creativity and Innovation in Post Production

The period of eligibility for the HPA Awards is September 11, 2012 through September 3, 2013. To be considered eligible, work must have debuted domestically and or internationally during this period. Entrants need not be members of the Hollywood Post Alliance or working in the U.S. to submit work for consideration. Lists of previous years’ winners can be found by visiting www.hpaawards.net.

A notable difference in the 2013 competition is expansion in the visual effects categories, which have become more encompassing, focused on a broader section of the visual effects pipeline.

Complete rules, guidelines and entry information are available at: www.hpaawards.net. Submissions for the creative categories will be accepted May 15, 2013 through July 12, 2013 and Early Bird Entries (reduced fee for the creative categories) will be accepted through June 14, 2013. Submissions for the Engineering Excellence Award and the Creativity and Innovation Award will be accepted May 15, 2013 through June 21, 2013. Entrants for the Engineering Excellence Award will be invited to present at a special HPA judging event in early August.

Contact Eileen Kramer at 213-614-0860 or write to ekramer@hpaonline.com for information about sponsorship opportunities for the 2013 HPA Awards show. For more information about the HPA Awards, visit www.hpaawards.net or call 213.614.0860.

Hollywood IT Summit Is A Hit!

May 15, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

Over 440 members of the entertainment IT community gathered last week for the Hollywood IT Society (HITS) annual meeting.  The Hollywood IT Summit held at Pepperdine University in Malibu addressed key industry issues such as big data, cloud computing, mobile products strategy, production and distribution digital workflows, and the expanding ecosystem for metadata. Program highlights included all-star panels of movie industry Chief Information Officers (representing Fox, Warner, Lionsgate, CAA and RLJ Entertainment) and Chief Technology Officers (from Fox, Sony, Warner, Disney, and Dreamworks).

“The academic environment sparked a remarkable, creative AND collaborative spirit among the speakers and audience of esteemed qualified attendees.  This is the type of technology community gathering that will truly have a lasting impact on our industry direction as we digitize all our enterprise, production and distribution processes,” says HITS Executive Director Devendra Mishra.

The conference program also featured presentations by solutions providers and their studio partners, including sessions by: Belkin, Savvis, Scenechronize, WatchDox ,  Aspera, MarkLogic, OneScreen, Oracle, QlikView,  Rackspace, Rovi and Sony Media Cloud Services.  Additional sponsors of the Summit included HP, Information Builders, Signiant and Zaszou.

The Hollywood IT Summit is produced jointly by the Hollywood IT Society (HITS) and Variety magazine in collaboration with Pepperdine University.  The next HITS conference is its 2nd Annual Digital Marketing & Analytics Summit, which is scheduled for September 27 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Los Angeles.

The Hollywood IT Society facilitates discussions among information technology leaders in the movie industry, directed by an advisory board of representatives from all major studios and independents.  With events and initiatives supported by over 40 solutions providers, HITS committees and workgroups focus on vital issues such as metadata, digital workflows, content management, security, business intelligence, and digital marketing and analytics.

HITS is managed by the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA), a consortium of industry associations and member companies involved in IT, digital supply chain, content security and 2nd screen.

For more information about the Society and its events visit:  www.hollywoodITsociety.com

Building a Successful Business on a Backbone of Process, Procedure and Customer Service

May 10, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

Last month CDSA had the pleasure of attending an Open House event thrown by Los Angeles Duplication & Broadcast (LADB) at their Burbank facility that is right across the street from Disney. It was a high-end affair with a tented red carpet entrance, exquisite hors d’oeuvres and a well-dressed army of servers and valets.

Eric Collins, LADB’s president and co-founder, was giving hands on demonstrations of their ultra-secure and monitored mobile delivery unit and their staff offered tours for VIPs of their first class facility that handles a multitude of “just-in-time” services for their studio and broadcast clientele. Robert Seidenglanz, LADB’s co-founder, also took time to guide guests through their facility showcasing its expanded capacity due to an efficient workflow strategy that helps new and existing customers take advantage of their companywide customer service culture of being reliable, fast and cutting edge to deliver on just about any need proposed by a content creator or production unit.

It was a lovely evening but looking back on the event it is their business culture around quality and content security that keeps resonating. In the tented area outside of the front entrance their consultant on security, Tom Carlson, gave an overview presentation throughout the event on the strategy that he helped LADB create where a commitment to both quality work and security is a cornerstone to their value proposition to customers.

In addition to being a CDSA certified facility, LADB has dual ISO certifications (9001 and 27001) and an obvious strict adherence to the MPAA’s best practices for facilities working with their member companies. LADB is one of the only small companies committed to this comprehensive, 3-pronged security approach that have been validated by third party oversight. What’s so impressive is how the structured process created around these industry standards/initiatives drives their entire business from the drivers and front desk staff all the way up to the senior management team.

And, the idea that LADB understands the importance of risk and accept the stewardship role/responsibility against all risk threats with their customers content whether internal or external, deliberate or accidental demonstrates that LADB is a thought leader for smaller companies in the production chain.

What is also notable about their formal program and commitment around security is not only their internal practices on client satisfaction, quality management and education it is the idea that they have processes in place to continually improve both quality and security service delivery.

By having a mechanism for monitoring and measuring each internal department (IT, HR, Operations, Purchasing, Sales) activity with client’s content, through both internal and external oversight and a commitment to change management, they are exemplary in approach with an eye to the future. This is critical for any business working in our industry – a commitment to continually evolve with the technologies that help the creative community make the best content in the most efficient and secure workflow possible.

For additional information on Los Angeles Duplication & Broadcast you can visit their website at http://www.ladb.com/

Testronic Labs Named HTC Connect™ Authorized Test Center

May 3, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

Testronic Labs, the global leader in quality assurance, localization, and certification services for consumer electronics, film and television, games, enterprise, and publishing, has been named an Authorized Test Center for the HTC Connect™ testing and compliance program. HTC created the HTC Connect program to offer consumer electronics manufacturers the opportunity to create an improved sound and visual standard when connecting HTC® devices with their consumer electronics.

Successfully tested consumer electronics from HTC Connect participating manufacturers become eligible to display the HTC Connect logo. For the consumer, this logo will indicate that wireless audio and video may be sent through their HTC smartphones to in-home and in-car electronics displaying the logo.  Testronic is the first testing center in Europe to become certified by HTC for this program.

Johan Craeybeckx, CTO of Testronic, stated, “At Testronic, we are fully engaged in supporting the evolution of the consumer experience, as it changes and expands. Smartphones are changing the way end-users experience entertainment content, and they can now enjoy rich-media content in almost any environment.  We are delighted to work with our colleagues at HTC in verifying that high levels of connectivity standards are being met with their products.”

Nicklas Jonsson, vice president, global partner management at HTC, commented, “Our vision is for our customers to easily stream their favorite high-quality video and audio from their smartphone into their home or car. The HTC Connect program builds upon our innovation in smartphones with leading consumer electronics brands. We rely upon our authorized test centers, like Testronic, to help us maintain an outstanding level of quality, integration and performance.”

Testronic’s HTC Connect testing and compliance operations will be headquartered out of their Belgium facility.

Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival Picks Signiant Media Shuttle File Sharing Solution for Accelerated Delivery of Full-Length HD Film Submissions

April 30, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

Signiant, the market leader in intelligent file movement software for media and entertainment, today announced that the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, which celebrates the world’s best mountain and adventure themed films and books, has standardized on Signiant’s Media Shuttle file sharing solution for digital film submission and distribution at its annual festival and world tour. Requiring fast, reliable delivery of massive HD files with security, acceleration and tracking, the Festival selected Media Shuttle to easily upload, download and transfer large files from a shared file system, providing significant time and cost savings for festival organizers and contributors.

A flagship program of The Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada, the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival is a nine-day event that continues throughout the year as an international film tour featuring about 740 film screenings across every continent, including Antarctica. Banff will rely on Media Shuttle to receive more than 300 film entries from filmmakers worldwide, as well as promotional content from partners to be used throughout the Festival program.

Media Shuttle defines a new class of file sharing solutions tuned for the movement of large files – high-value digital assets that are tens or hundreds of gigabytes in size – and provides simple interfaces delivered from the cloud, enterprise-class security, acceleration and storage control.  Media Shuttle portals can be quickly configured in one of three modes – Send, Share or Submit – to flexibly support the needs of any project, team or media enterprise in a single, multi-purpose solution. By combining the best attributes of online file sharing and accelerated file transfer software, Media Shuttle offers a viable, next-generation alternative to FTP servers.

“We have filmmakers in far-flung locales around the world submitting content on-the-fly, and we need to make the submission process as easy as possible for them. Past delivery solutions could not support the file size and transfer speeds required to deliver films of this complexity and quality,” said Woody MacPhail, Producer of the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival and World Tour at The Banff Centre. “With Media Shuttle, we’re able to transfer large files quickly in any form, access them anywhere and not limit the type of content received.  We want our filmmakers focused on creating their content, and not file delivery. Media Shuttle lets them really embrace the lifestyle they are filming – last-minute deadlines, living in the instant, capturing the moment.”

Following the Festival, Media Shuttle will be used to distribute files to broadcast partners such as National Geographic, and to support the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour, which screens films in approximately 40 countries around the world.  Many locations receive unique master file uploads – typically a terabyte of HD film – often with regional dialect.

“The host organization in each tour location chooses a program that reflects the interests of their local audiences and exchanging digital assets of this size, frequency and specification can be complex,” added MacPhail. “We needed a delivery solution that is reliable and effortless for our host organizations. Media Shuttle gives us the flexibility to work with a wide range of global partners regardless of those elements.”

The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival will be held October 26 to November 3, 2013.  It is accepting film submissions from May 7 through August 6, 2013.

SMPTE and Stanford Center for Image Systems Engineering to Coproduce ‘Entertainment Technology in the Internet Age’ Conference

April 23, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), the worldwide leader in motion-imaging standards and education for the communications, media, entertainment, and technology industries, today announced that it is working with the Stanford Center for Image Systems Engineering (SCIEN) to produce the two-day conference “Entertainment Technology in the Internet Age” (ETIA). Beginning June 18 at Stanford University’s Palo Alto, Calif., campus, the conference will explore the technology, creative, and business requirements for delivering a compelling, high-quality, monetizable entertainment experience over the Web.

“Entertainment technology development and content deployment has historically been the purview of Hollywood and traditional broadcast media,” said ETIA conference chair Patrick Griffis, executive director of technology strategy at Dolby Laboratories and SMPTE education vice president. “However, the rapid convergence of technology; improvements in connectivity, bandwidth, and media processing; coupled with consumer interest, is causing a surge in entertainment distribution via the Internet.”

“ETIA will bring together leaders and innovators from Hollywood and Silicon Valley communities to discuss how the Internet is changing the way we create, deliver, enjoy, and pay for entertainment,” added Joyce Farrell, executive director of SCIEN and ETIA conference chair.

Through a series of panel discussions and presentations, with ample opportunity for audience participation, the ETIA conference will examine topics within the areas of Internet-focused content creation, distribution, and monetization, as well as technical tools and solutions for shaping the user experience. Among the presentations planned is “Flash Forward — How HTML-5 and Canvas Will Become the Next Interactive Screen for Web Media,” a panel discussion by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and media technology experts on the future of UI technology, as well as several sessions examining the standards and formats — SMPTE Interoperable Master Format (IMF), HLS, and MPEG-DASH — being used to facilitate content distribution and optimization of content quality.

“Where Are the Eyeballs?” will look at consumers’ shift from subscription pay services to Web services, and a subsequent session will examine the role of new analytics technology in illuminating consumer behavior. Related sessions will examine techniques for incorporating advertising into Internet content and delve into how second screens, such as PCs and tablets, are being used to complement the main-screen viewing experience.

As Internet distribution becomes more ubiquitous, many of the regulatory requirements that traditional content providers have incorporated, such as closed captioning, will be a reality for Internet distributed content as well. The regulatory environment in Washington, D.C., will also be discussed along with the solutions that have been given safe harbor status by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The highly charged topic of commercial content protection will also be addressed from the political, business, and technical challenges perspective.

Held in the CEMEX auditorium in the Knight Management Center in Stanford Graduate School of Business, the ETIA will give delegates ample time to engage with speakers and one another as they discuss topics of the day with a common interest in entertainment technology.

Discounted early-bird rates apply to those registering by April 1. Further information about the ETIA conference, including a full schedule and registration information, is available online at www.smpte.org/ETIA2013.

Jim Bottoms to Collaborate with Blu-ray Disc Association on European Industry Outreach

April 22, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

Long-time industry analyst, Jim Bottoms, has been appointed to spearhead Blu-ray Disc Association’s local and industry activities throughout Europe.  Bottoms, who also serves as the Executive Director for MESA (Media and Entertainment Services Alliance) Europe, will work with both industry groups to drive synergies and help continue the positive outlook for Blu-ray disc and other physical and digital entertainment platforms.

Formerly with Futuresource Consulting, Bottoms has been a frequent commentator on regional and global market trends in the home entertainment and technology industries. More recently Bottoms has turned his focus towards playing a ‘hands on’ role in supporting the home entertainment industry and is driving greater co-operation in order to ensure common goals are met.

“There are a lot of new initiatives aimed at extending the road map for Blu-ray and I look forward to  playing my part in helping to drive the format forward in Europe” said Bottoms. “Through my links with MESA, and now the BDA, we plan to strengthen the voice of the industry and build collaborative environment that drives revenue across the spectrum of delivery platforms and fosters growth and expansion into exciting new areas such as 4K.”

The Blu-ray Disc Association’s Global Promotions Chair, Victor Matsuda, highlighted the work still to do in Europe and spoke of the BDA’s commitment to continue raising awareness with consumers and other industry groups to promote and grow the format.  “Blu-ray Disc has been a tremendous global success, but there is still room to educate consumers and grow the format,” said Matsuda. “Jim works with every key segment of the industry and as such, his relationships with today’s thought leaders and his insights into the overall direction of home entertainment are invaluable to ensuring a uniform industry voice.”

“His experience and direction will be extremely helpful in bringing an understanding of the needs of each individual market and meeting the objectives of the members in each territory.”

The BDA recently re-structured its activities to reflect the changing industry dynamics, with the BDA in the US and its PR agency, Hoog+Associates, taking on a bigger role in driving the Association’s activities on both sides of the Atlantic. “We’ve previously worked closely with Jim and his team in the US and on a global basis”, said Michael Hoog, president of the eponymous promotions agency. “This new relationship enables us to coordinate globally, but with greater insight into specific regions throughout Europe.”

Visual Data Awarded Netflix Preferred Vendor Status

April 19, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

Visual Data Media Services – a data centric facility supporting the creation, transformation, management, and distribution of content for all media platforms – has been awarded Preferred Vendor Status by Netflix. Visual Data is one of only 12 companies globally, and one of just three in the Los Angeles market, chosen as a Netflix Preferred Vendor.

Netflix, founded in 1997, is the world’s leading Internet television network. The company has more than 33 million members in 40 countries enjoying more than one billion hours of TV shows and movies per month. Members can watch as much as they would like on nearly any Internet-connected screen, positioning Netflix as the leading driver of content digitization for the Streaming VOD market.

In creating their Preferred Vendor Program, Netflix developed specific criteria to ensure that only the highest level candidates would be certified.  As part of the evaluation process, Visual Data was assessed in the following areas: service levels and performance metrics, breadth and quality of service, scalable technical infrastructure, workflow efficiencies, order management solution, delivery timeline, account management team, and corrective action management.

Chris Fetner, Director of Content Partners Operations for Netflix, stated, “We’re looking for the top providers in the Digital Supply Chain to streamline workflows and help us accelerate the streaming VOD transformation. Netflix seeks to digitize content quickly, while still maintaining the highest quality possible. Matching content providers with the best service providers accomplishes that. We are very pleased to have Visual Data as part of our program.”

John Trautman, CEO of Visual Data, commented, “Our highly skilled team is able to combine a deep knowledge of traditional tape-based workflows with the innovation and technical expertise required to service our clients in today’s market. Visual Data is proud to be a part of the Netflix Preferred Vendor Program. This certification gives Netflix’ Content Partners the confidence to know that their material is being handled by a proven market leader in the Digital Supply Chain.”

Visual Data recently relocated into a brand new 30,000 square foot facility featuring 20 multi-functional ‘smart suites’, which can be easily configured to provide encoding, transcoding, audio services, avid or final cut editing, QC, or color correction as needed.  The data centric operation was designed from the ground up to support the rapidly evolving market of content transformation and management, while continuing to support traditional post production workflows as the industry migrates to a file-based world.

BluFocus Announces Testing Partnership with Verance

April 16, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

BluFocus Inc., an advanced testing and certification facility specializing in the assurance of quality media products, content and technologies for the entertainment industry, announced today it has partnered with Verance to offer testing services to support verification and certification of Blu-ray Disc players and recorders employing the Cinavia standard for protection of filmed entertainment content.

Verance first offered Cinavia certification and verification services in 2011 to assist consumer electronics manufacturers in ensuring compliance with industry requirements. These services decrease manufacturer cost, effort and time-to-market while increasing assurance of compliance with license obligations and consumer satisfaction in product deployments. More than 35 brand owners, manufacturers, software vendors, and chip providers, embraced the Cinavia testing program which is fee-free for Cinavia Preferred Partner Program members.

To meet this growing demand, BluFocus will now offer consumer electronics manufacturers an additional source of Cinavia certification and verification services. BluFocus is already providing testing services for other technologies employed in consumer devices, including Blu-ray Disc Association verification for hardware and software players. BluFocus’s offering means consumer electronics manufacturers engaged in Cinavia testing may now reduce the number of independent test vendors they employ.

The two companies have a long-standing relationship. In 2011, BluFocus introduced Cinavia verification services into its quality-assurance process workflow for DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 3D Blu-ray Disc media.

“We strive to provide device manufacturers with ready access to high-quality Cinavia compliance testing services,” said Dean Angelico, executive vice president, operations at Verance. “By partnering with BluFocus, we are expanding access to certification and verification services from a recognized industry leader in testing services.”

“We are thrilled to have this expanded partnership with Verance,” said Paulette Pantoja, CEO and founder for BluFocus. “It feels like a natural progression for our relationship, and we look forward to our future ‘next steps.’ The Cinavia technology is one that we firmly stand behind, particularly with piracy at an all-time high.”

“The need for secure content protection solutions is extremely important for the entertainment industry. The robustness of the Cinavia technology makes it extremely effective in the fight against piracy,” said Juan Reyes, Chief Technology Officer for BluFocus. “We’re glad to be a part of the process in helping to ensure its continued effectiveness and success through the highly detailed and technical testing we’ll be conducting.”

Big Data Boondoggles: NAB and UCLA Shine the Spotlight on TV’s Platinum Era

April 12, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

By Colleen Quinn

It’s that time of year! Nearly  100,000 of the industry’s best and brightest flock to Sin City for meetings, demos, and debauchery. It’s NAB!  I’m a little wistful writing this from a cold, hard desk in Los Angeles, as pictures of productive-days-turned-long-raucous- nights start to flood into my Inbox.

“Wish you were here!” they scream. Alas, me too. Not so much for the endless hands of blackjack (where I lose every penny to my name), the 36-ounce rib-eyes (“Hey! Who has the most liberal expense account?!), or the dreaded booth-baby-T-shirt.  No.  Those things are nice – and essential to the NAB boondoggle – but mostly, I’d like to be there because I think this year, really, NAB is important.

My mantra for the last 5-years has been “the landscape for media and entertainment is changing.” I hear others talk about “the battle for the living room.”  Well, I’ve got news for all of us. The landscape isn’t changing. It’s changed. And, that battle is over.  Now we’re talking about a war – for the consumer. This month’s WIRED magazine has dubbed this the Platinum era of television.  They’re right.  (See my recent blog post  – was it a premonition to Wired’s new issue?)

Click here to read the full blog post

CE Week to Feature Digital Health, Ultra HD, Connected Car, 2nd Screen, Digital Fashion and More

April 10, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

CE Week, the consumer electronics and technology industry’s annual mid-year event, today announced the addition of several new events and conferences to the CE Week 2013 line-up. These additions, combined with the return of popular events from year’s past, will make CE Week 2013 the largest and most robust CE Week to-date.

CE Week will bring together global companies and innovators for a week of conferences, exhibitions, workshops and networking events, June 24-28, 2013, in New York City. The ever-popular CE Week Line Shows and Exhibits, CE Week’s official show headquarters, is scheduled for June 26-27 at the Altman Building and Metropolitan Pavilion.

Events and conferences for CE Week 2013 include:

  • Engadget+gdgt Live: For the third consecutive year, the innovative event series that brings technology brands and gadget enthusiasts together from around the country, will kick off CE Week on June 24 at the Altman Building.
  • Women in CE Forum: The second annual Career Enhancement Forum, ‘Empower Your Entrepreneurial Spirit,’ returns to the Rubin Museum of Art on June 25. The event will include keynotes from Kay Koplovitz, Founder of USA Networks, and Mika Brzezinski, Co-Host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and Bestselling Author of “Know Your Value.”
  • iLounge NYC at CE Week Line Shows and Exhibits: The new VIP event on June 25 and two-day exhibition on June 26-27 will bring the excitement and vitality of the thriving Apple® accessory industry to Manhattan, showcasing the best upcoming iPad®, iPhone®, and iPod® products.
  • Connected Car Conference (C3): Co-produced by car technology expert and distinguished journalist Doug Newcomb (Wired, Edmunds.com, MSN Auto), this new half-day program on June 25 at the Metropolitan Pavilion will bring the best and brightest in the automotive and consumer electronics worlds together to navigate the road ahead for the connected car.
  • Ultra HD Conference: A new half-day conference on June 25, bringing together leading technologists, marketers, broadcasters and home entertainment executives to share their views on the viability of the Ultra HD market, an overview of the their individual roadmaps to market, and a range of opinions about how, ultimately, Ultra HD content is going to be delivered to the household.
  • Showstoppers at CE Week Line Shows and Exhibits: A press preview event for CE Week Line Shows and Exhibits on June 26 at 8:30 am. Media will get a sneak-peek at product debuts and see who will be making headlines before the show officially opens.
  • FashionWare NYC at CE Week Line Shows and Exhibits: Produced by Robin Raskin, founder and president of Living in Digital Times, the new FashionWare exhibit on June 26-27, and runway show on June 26, will celebrate the most stylish, sophisticated and unique designs in high-tech fashion.
  • Digital Health Summit at CE Week Line Shows and Exhibits: On June 26, Jill Gilbert and Robin Raskin, both renowned speakers in the field of digital health, will explore the booming markets of next generation medical devices, remote monitoring, mHealth apps and products, cloud-based medical services and wellness and fitness devices at this new event.
  • Mobile Apps Showdown at CE Week Line Shows and Exhibits: Produced by Robin Raskin and Living in Digital Times, the Mobile Apps Showdown NYC Competition will put the best and brightest in mobile app technology on display. During the live showdown on June 26, ten finalists will put their apps to the test and the audience will cast the deciding vote on the best app.
  • The Techlicious Summit at CE Week Line Shows and Exhibits: In this new half-day conference on June 27, Suzanne Kantra, Founder of Techlicious, will discuss how women make tech purchases, what type of messaging resonates with women, how to reach women through social channels and what’s on women’s wish lists this holiday season.
  • 2nd Screen Summit NYC (S3): Produced by 2nd Screen Society in partnership with Broadcasting & Cable and Multichannel News magazines, S3 will be a gathering of CE, Broadcast, Advertising and Content Holder executives and their service provider partners for a half-day of information, market statistics, education and thought leadership around the emerging 2nd Screen ecosystem on June 27 at Clearview Cinemas Chelsea.

Registration for CE Week 2013 opens on April 15. For more information about CE Week and the CE Week Line Shows and Exhibits, visit www.ceweekny.com.

Viewers Need a Better Way to Find and Watch TV Content in a Multi-Platform World

April 5, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

By Bart Myers, Vice President of Consumer Web Properties, Rovi

Despite the rising number of entertainment options, it’s clear that Americans are watching as much TV as ever. They’re just watching it differently, discovering new ways to enjoy TV on their own terms and on whatever device is available to them.

They are streaming free and premium content to their tablets and smartphones. They are tuning into online services like Hulu and Netflix to watch their favorite shows. They are even paying a few bucks to watch single episodes via services like iTunes and Amazon Prime. And, yes, they still rely on cable and satellite subscriptions.

Still, many people in the television industry are freaking out. They’re obsessed with the same question: “Who’s cutting the cord?” After all, Comcast Corp., the largest U.S. cable provider, said it lost 117,000 video customers in the third quarter of 2012. After decades of steady increase, the number of U.S. households subscribing to pay-TV service is now on the decline, according to the Nielsen Company.

But cord-cutting isn’t the real issue. Instead, content producers should be asking, “What cords are viewers using—and how can we maximize the value of those cords for everyone involved?”

Click here to read the full Blog post.

Saffron Digital to Launch End-To-End Ultraviolet Solution Using Akamai at 2013 NAB Show

April 4, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

Saffron Digital, which recently joined Akamai’s NetAlliance Partner Program, has leveraged its relationship with the leading cloud platform provider to launch a comprehensive end-to-end UltraViolet (UV) solution. The new solution will enable retailers, content owners, operators and device manufacturers to take advantage of the business opportunities presented by UV. Using a common file format (CFF), UV aims to engage consumers with the ultimate value proposition for premium video content: buy it anywhere and play it on any device you own.

Saffron Digital, which has been offering UV-like digital locker services since 2009, has integrated its secure online video platform with Akamai’s Sola Media Solutions and global CDN to create an “out-of-the-box” UV solution that simplifies and shortens time to market. As part of the relationship, Saffron Digital will develop UV storefronts that have its proprietary CFF player at their core.

“UltraViolet is starting to gain real market traction around the world with a wave of digital media retailers lining up to launch UV multi-platform VOD services. In the UK and US we’re already seeing millions of household accounts being created and thousands of titles becoming available. We’re also seeing a lot of interest from digital media retailers in Australia and New Zealand who are keen to get involved,” said Jason Keane, Saffron Digital CEO. “There are a lot of great synergies between Saffron Digital and Akamai and by integrating our video-platform with their media solutions and CDN we’re in a great position to help these very retailers launch compelling experiences as UV rolls out globally.”

The new end-to-end solution will feature:

  • Content preparation
  • A comprehensive content management system (CMS)
  • Storefront services and application design & development
  • Digital locker services
  • Payment and authentication
  • A proprietary CFF video player
  • Service management
  • Media analytics and reporting

Steven Chester, Vice President, Global Media & Entertainment at Akamai Technologies said, “Akamai’s NetAlliance Partner Program is designed to create better unified and integrated solutions for our customers, and the addition of Saffron Digital allows us to offer further choices for UV customers. With a strong focus on premium video, Saffron Digital is one of the industry leaders in DRM services and end-user experience. Like Saffron, we’ve been delivering UV-like services for a long time and, together, we know the complexities that new implementers may come across and how to solve them.”

Executives from Saffron Digital and Akamai will be available throughout NAB to discuss the partnership and the opportunities presented by UV.

M&E Journal: The Transformative Effect of User Research On the Consumer Experience

March 29, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

By Seth Hallen, CEO, Testronic Labs
Editorial Contributions By: Graham McAllister, Ph.D., VP of User Research, Testronic Labs

In the home entertainment industry, never before have we seen such rapid and dramatic changes in the way consumers are accessing and viewing content. Broadcast television was the first effective format available to the masses for watching content in the home. It took almost 40 years for the next significant innovation in content delivery to arrive on the scene, videotape, which allowed a consumer to choose when and where to watch a movie or TV show. More than 20 years later, DVD and then Blu-ray improved the quality of in-home content and DVR’s made time-shifting possible. Now, less than 10 years after the introduction of the Blu-ray Disc, we are experiencing a colossal shift towards online digital video consumption.

According to Futuresource Consulting, there were over 485 billion legitimate (not pirated) online video views in the US last year! That is up from 266 billion in 2009. As impressive as that number is, only 1 percent of those views were purchased. Clearly the public is hungry for online access to content. The challenge is offering a value proposition the consumer is willing to pay for.

If core consumption has changed so dramatically, it is only logical to ask how behaviors regarding searching, accessing, cataloging and interacting with content will change. There are already various options available, from simple web interfaces to 2nd screen apps to voice-command interfaces. Which of these, if any, are most compelling to the consumer? How can you determine exactly how consumers like to access and interact with their content? How can you best forecast the trends so that developers can create UIs that will truly engage consumers so that they recognize the value in purchasing content they view online and through all their various devices? How can you ensure an experience that home video consumers love so much that it will yield DVD-caliber success?

Click here to read the full report.

Testronic and Player Research Announce Exclusive Collaboration for Video Games User Experience Testing

March 28, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

Testronic Labs, the global leader in quality assurance services for games, film and television, and media, has announced an exclusive collaboration agreement with Player Research , a User Experience (UX) company led by Graham McAllister. Player Research, a highly regarded UX studio and video games play testing company headquartered in Brighton, UK, is at the very forefront of helping games companies and other entertainment entities analytically and scientifically understand the elements and motivation of player behavior. The collaboration will put state-of-the-art UX testing in the hands of Testronic’s global roster of clients. McAllister, Player Research staffers and the Testronic team are on hand at GDC 2013 to provide private demonstrations of the technology.

Testronic will be opening the doors to a User Experience Lab at its US headquarters, located in Burbank, California, during Q2, 2013. McAllister is playing a key role in designing the new lab, which features the unique combination of biometrics, subject qualifications, and multi-pronged interviews that has proven highly successful for Player Research. The UX Lab will benefit from, and interact with, the powerful end-to-end testing ecosystem Testronic has built out at its First Street facility.

McAllister, a recognized leader in the User Experience community, launched Player Research in Brighton, UK. A respected academic, he earned his PhD in Computer Graphics from the University of Ulster (Ireland). McAllister is a senior lecturer at the University of Sussex on the Human-Computer Interaction and a journalist, writing for the influential games publication, Edge. His motivation in this highly-technical, but very human area of analysis has always been, “…to make better games. It comes down to a scientific approach in making informed choices in the game development process. We have designed the biometrics that track the physical aspect of User Experience, but over the years we’ve discovered that those tests lack meaning without the corresponding questions and an analysis of the combined information. The combination of the subjective and biometric produces powerful insights.”

Testronic is focused on keeping their clients, which include leading games developers and publishers, well ahead of the changing demands of deliverables and consumer behavior. The concept of User Experience is evolving rapidly for video games and entertainment product, and Testronic wanted to go past the horizon of current thought, and establish new benchmarks for quality in this arena.

Johan Craeybeckx, Chief Technology Officer of Testronic, comments, “We are delighted to be working closely with Graham and his team, and look forward to meeting with our clients at GDC to demonstrate the work we are engaged in together. The Player Research approach goes far beyond much of what is being called User Experience today and we see UX as a crucial component of games testing. At Testronic, we have been thinking about this area for a long time, and we see the collaboration and the launch of our new lab in Burbank as a huge benefit to our games customers.”

McAllister concluded, “It’s exciting to work with my colleagues at Testronic, we share a focus on providing our clients with the latest but most thoughtful approach to making sure their products are at the forefront of the marketplace.”

ESCA Digital March 28 Adds Afternoon Keynote with ESPN Journalist J.A. Adande: A Look at the Parallels among Sports, Life and Business

March 27, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

ESCADigital 2013x300

Acclaimed sports journalist J.A. Adande will share his insights into the changing dynamics of digital media during the afternoon keynote session at the ESCA Digital conference March 28 in Los Angeles. Currently a senior writer covering the NBA for ESPN.com and formerly with the Los Angeles Times, Adande will discuss his experience making the shift from print to online media. He will also address how he thinks about reporting on a game as he’s watching it, how the shift to online media affects that process and the parallels between the evolution of sports reporting and the changes impacting the broader home entertainment business. He’ll also offer tips on how basketball teams can win by adapting their defenses and will field  questions from the audience.

Adande is the author of “The Best Los Angeles Sports Arguments: The 100 Most Controversial, Debatable Questions for Die-Hard Fans.” He also serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Journalism, where he teaches a class entitled “Sports Commentary,” and co-teaches a class on “Sports Public Relations.”

The ESCA Digital conference program will be highlighted by three unique sessions addressing the broad scope of the digital supply chain – from what it takes to prepare content behind the scenes to the tools needed to market in the digital space, and how to meet the needs of the constantly evolving digital consumer lifestyle.

To register for ESCA Digital, click here.

Saffron Digital Powers Deutsche Telekom’s New VideoRise Platform

March 25, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

Deutsche Telekom Business Development and Innovation (DT) has today launched VideoRise, a secure online video platform that simplifies the creation, management and delivery of premium multiplatform video services. This comes as part of a strategic partnership to re-sell Saffron Digital’s unique end-to-end solution.

Powered by Saffron Digital, the DT-branded VideoRise solution will enable telcos and OTT VOD service providers to easily launch compelling entertainment experiences that increase revenue and build viewer engagement across all screens. It combines content preparation, a content management system (CMS), storefront design and development, digital locker services, payment and authentication and a proprietary secure video player in one platform. However, thanks to its modular nature, individual components can also be integrated into a company’s existing systems and workflows as needed.

Jason Keane, CEO Saffron Digital said, “Managing digital rights, licensing rules and the increasing variety of video formats to launch a premium multiplatform video service is becoming more complex. Combining our end-to-end premium video solution with Deutsche Telekom’s global partner network will enable us to provide operators with a wide range of innovative tools and modules to help overcome these challenges.”

“We needed a VOD service that would support our global customers with all the challenges they face in the ever-evolving video market and VideoRise is exactly that,” said Karim El-Khazen, Deutsche Telekom Vice President Business Development and Innovation (BDI), International Businesses. “From our long experience serving Telco operators and service providers we know that an end-to-end consultative approach, modularity and speed of delivery are key to success. Now, thanks to our partnership with Saffron Digital, our customers can rely on a top solution that delivers on all these dimensions. Additionally, VideoRise complements our portfolio of solutions serving OTT, content and media players in the space of content enabling and content monetization.”

DT and Saffron Digital will announce the first VideoRise customer at the end of Q2 2013.

M&E Journal: Using Automatic Content Recognition to Benefit the Fragmented Media Landscape

March 21, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

By Emmanuel Josserand

We are all living in an increasingly fragmented world. And the media world is no different. Consumers are demanding their viewing experience expands to the smartphone and tablet from the primary screen, which is itself becoming much more complex with the propagation of smart TVs. Therefore content distributors need to make their content compatible for distribution in myriad formats. The conundrum, of course, is that the consumer therefore expects more at the same price. The content creators and distributors need to spend more to generate the same price.

Fig. 1: 2nd Screen sync used on audio watermarking

Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) helps bridge this disconnection on both ends of the broadcasting experience, offering consumers deeper immersion and interaction with television programming and advertising, while providing rights holders and broadcasters a heightened level of business intelligence through highly granular tracking of how viewers interact with content. ACR, powered by either watermarking or fingerprinting, allows dynamic and seamless interlinking of devices, viewers, content and applications. So it fuses the viewing experience across multiple screens for the viewer, while closing the delivery-feedback loop for the content owner and distributor. The whole process becomes more efficient.

In the multi-screen environment, ACR is a tool that gives a smart device – such as a smartphone or tablet – the ability to become “content-aware.” This awareness allows the smart device to recognize what is being watched on the primary TV screen without the need for direct input from the user.

Click here to read the full article.

Brevity Announces Strategic Partnership With The Kraft Group

March 21, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

In a strong affirmation of the core technology and market potential of Brevity, a digital technology start-up serving the media and entertainment markets, the company has entered into a strategic partnership with The Kraft Group that includes a significant infusion of capital. The Kraft Group’s investment, for which specific terms were not disclosed, follows previous angel rounds raised by Brevity totaling $7.7 million.

Founded in 2009, Brevity’s breakthrough solution was designed to highly accelerate the transport of digital video files while enabling the simultaneous delivery in multiple formats to multiple locations at the push of a button. Integrating web-based collaboration and workflow automation tools, Brevity provides an unparalleled user experience for managing and distributing digital media assets, and an increased efficiency in workflows for unmatched return on investment. The technology has been adopted by leading broadcasters, NBC Sports and CBS Sports, and successfully deployed in critical applications for broadcasts of major events, including the 2012 Olympic Games and the NFL Super Bowl.

The Kraft Group’s interests in sports and entertainment include ownership of the New England Patriots NFL franchise, the New England Revolution MLS franchise and Gillette Stadium.

According to Kevin Norris, Brevity President and CEO, the addition of a strong strategic partner like The Kraft Group underscores the strong market potential of Brevity in the media and entertainment sectors and positions the company for growth going forward.

“Brevity has proven its technology with some of the highest profile, most demanding media brands and now with an experienced, well-connected partner like The Kraft Group, we’re optimally positioned to take our technology to new customers and markets.”

Read more about the Brevity partnership with the Kraft Group here.

SendToNews Chooses Civolution’s Teletrax To Monitor Sports Video Content Usage On TV

March 13, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

Civolution, the leading provider of technology and solutions for identifying, managing and monetizing content, today announces an agreement with SendtoNews, the leading digital US news syndication agency.

SendtoNews has been working with Civolution’s watermarking technology since June 2012 to create a system which seamlessly integrates into their video management system. This system has been extensively tested over the past few months.

SendtoNews will leverage data from all US and Canadian channels being monitored by Civolution’s Teletrax® platform through Teletrax’s renewed web-based analytics portal. The broadcast insights provided by Teletrax will allow SendtoNews to more effectively connect sports leagues, news outlets, and leading brands to premium sports video highlights.

“We wanted to match the premium quality of our sports video content with equally premium insights into the use of that content,” said Greg Bobolo, CEO of SendtoNews. ‘Teletrax is a powerful digital asset management tool that will aid us to better understand precisely the reach of our content. The intelligence gathered will allow us to fine tune our offerings, better allocate our resources which should in turn positively impact our bottom line.’’

SendtoNews will utilize Civolution’s digital watermarking technology to encode their sports content ingested from various sporting locations. Once it has been distributed across SendtoNews’s media delivery network, sports content – which includes Professional Golf, Hockey, Soccer and Motorsports highlight videos – will be tracked on the global Teletrax monitoring network.  This includes the newly-expanded Teletrax channel line-up with additional TV stations now being monitored across Canada. The combination of both digital watermarking and automated near real-time content monitoring will enable SendtoNews to better understand and confirm usage of their media packages.

“We are very pleased that SendToNews, a leading and innovative media delivery platform, chose Teletrax”, said Andy Nobbs, CMO, Civolution. “Teletrax allows clients to accurately track where, when and how different media content is being used, thereby enabling more efficient asset distribution and better inventory control.”

Civolution’s Teletrax – Television Monitoring is the premier global television content tracking solution. It is the only global service offering a combination of cutting-edge watermarking and fingerprinting technologies over the world’s largest monitoring network. The number of available channels in the Teletrax product has increased to the highest levels yet in the 11-year history of the platform, now with over 2,000 channels including all 210 U.S. DMAs, across over 60 countries worldwide from monitoring stations in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, South and Central America, and Canada.

All this broadcast intelligence is accessible to partners through a recently re-launched online portal, which was developed based on client feedback. The new widget-based dashboard allows for extensive user-customization, and includes the Teletrax OnView plug-in, which enables users to actually view the video as aired on the TV station.  Along with the richer, visually driven view of data, and insights which allow clients to grasp at-a-glance the exact reach and usage of their content, clients also have access to new competitive analysis tools, such as content ‘retrotracking’. The Teletrax’ retrotracking broadcast monitoring service delivers detailed reports on the reach of past events by retroactively tracking the broadcast of those events.

Saffron Digital Powers Expansion of KDDI’s Premium Video On Demand Service Across iOS and Smart TV

March 12, 2013 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

KDDI, one of Japan’s leading telcos, has today announced the launch of its Video Pass service on Apple iOS devices and Smart TV Stick.  Powered by Saffron Digital, the premium video on demand service is now available across four platforms and is for the first time accessible by KDDI’s entire smartphone subscriber base.

Video Pass, which was already available across a wide range of devices including Android phones and tablets as well as PCs and Macs will now be available to KDDI’s iPhone and iPad customers, giving them access to premium film and TV content anywhere, anytime. KDDI has also launched Smart TV Stick, a portable Android OS Set-Top-Box the size of a USB stick that can be plugged onto the TV through HDMI input. Available for sale in over 2500 KDDI retail stores, Smart TV Stick will have the Video Pass application pre-installed to give users immediate access to the entire catalogue of content.

“We have really valued Saffron Digital’s online video expertise since the launch of Video Pass last year, so it was a natural choice for us to use them to extend our offering to Apple’s iconic mobile devices, and to help launch our Smart TV Stick,” said Tetsuji Fujita, Head of Media Service Planning Section KDDI. “Having content available across multiple platforms is becoming a ‘must have’ service for mobile operators and Saffron Digital’s comprehensive solution has allowed us to ensure we are giving our subscribers exactly what they want. The partnership also helps us to forge a permanent position in the multiscreen market by widening our device reach – doing this allows us to securely broaden our subscriber base and open the door to a realm of new profitable applications.”

Saffron Digital has been powering KDDI’s Video Pass service since its launch to more than 26 different Android devices in May 2012. Using its end-to-end online video platform, Saffron Digital designed and developed Video Pass as a multi-screen ecosystem that enables KDDI’s subscribers to enjoy Hollywood and local film and TV content wherever they are. With its unique Pause and Resume technology users can also seamlessly switch between devices and pick up where they left off mid video. These latest platform launches will give KDDI’s subscribers an even broader range of entertainment options.

“We continually strive to innovate and expand the device reach of Video Pass for KDDI. As a British technology company, it is a real honour to be exporting our knowledge, expertise and technical know-how to Japan, one of the biggest digital markets in the world,” said Jason Keane, CEO Saffron Digital. “By rolling out Video Pass on iOS devices and Smart TV Stick we’re helping KDDI significantly extend the reach of connected devices available to their customers. Working with KDDI supports our on-going commitment to providing mobile device operators and content service providers with a complete end-to-end video solution that seamlessly reaches the greatest number of devices, whilst providing their customers an unrivalled user experience.”

Video Pass launched on Smart TV Stick last week and has gone live this week on iPhone and iPad.

« Previous PageNext Page »

  • Upcoming Events

HITS 2014 Button
broadbandtvJune2014
  • Hollywood IT Society

  • 2nd Screen Society

  • Content Protection

  • ITV Alliance

  • Signup for the M&E Daily
    * indicates required
  • Stay Connected