Evite, ConnecTV Partner on Social TV

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

By Chris Tribbey

Online social planning company Evite has tapped ConnecTV and its app to help Evite users promote in-home and virtual viewing parties for sports, reality and Hollywood events, the companies announced.

Evite and ConnecTV will work together to create live viewing events for the Super Bowl, the Grammys, the Golden Globes, the Oscars, American Idol, college basketball games and more, with Evite promoting ConnecTV’s Apple app, which allows users to create a six-second clip from live TV, personalize it and share it via Facebook, Twitter and email.

Click here to read the complete story…

ConnecTV Gears up for Social Second Screen

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

By Chris Tribbey

ConnecTV wants just six seconds of your time. Shared with the world, of course.

The Emeryville, Calif.-based second screen app company is looking for major adoption of ConnecTV in 2014, offering a unique social media experience that takes a six-second clip from live TV and puts the user in charge with personalization and sharing tools for Facebook, Twitter and email.

Stacy Jolna, ConnecTV’s co-founder and chief marketing officer, said approximately 400 TV networks are allowing users to share the Vine-like show clips, which uses audio fingerprinting to see that someone’s tuned in to a given channel. Once a user presses “clip” in the app, ConnecTV pulls up the last two minutes that aired, and let’s the user select a six-second chunk of the broadcast.

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‘Game of Thrones’ Tops 2013 Piracy List

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

By Chris Tribbey

For the second straight year, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” has the dubious honor of being the No. 1 pirated TV show in the world, with an estimated 5.9 million downloads per episode, according to BitTorrent tracking service TorrentFreak. With only 5.5 million estimated viewers per episode of the series during initial airings this year in the U.S., that means more people are stealing the popular series than paying for it.

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IBIS World: Digital, Mobile Gaining Steam in Gaming Industry

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

By Chris Tribbey

The new consoles from Sony and Microsoft couldn’t have come at a better time for the gaming industry, according to a report from Australian research firm IBIS World.

After a few years of declining revenues, the gaming industry should see worldwide revenue of $38.2 billion for 2013, and should see revenue grow at an average annual rate of 4% over the next five years, to $46.4 billion in 2018.

IBIS analysts wrote that the next-gen consoles act more as media hubs than gaming consoles, giving them a better hold in living rooms.

“Not only do consoles provide web browsing capabilities, the ability to watch a movie via Amazon or Netflix and rent or purchase items directly on the console, but they have also increasingly become social devices,” the report reads. “The social aspect of gaming has grown alongside that of mobile devices and social media platforms, and it is now a prominent feature of gaming consoles.”

The IBIS report forecasts that game developers and console manufacturers will increasingly take advantage of digital delivery and mobile gaming, thanks to low manufacturing and distribution costs.

“In response to the increasing trend of digital distribution, game retailers, such as GameStop, have increasingly relied on secondary sales of used games and game console accessories to drive revenue,” the report reads, noting that retailers keep all of the proceeds from second-hand game sales.

A full copy of the report can be accessed here: http://www.ibisworld.com/media/2013/12/19/just-game-new-consoles-shift-video-games-industrys-focus/

NPD: China Leading 4K Charge

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

By Chris Tribbey

Overall TV demand may be on the decline, but 4K Ultra HD demand is skyrocketing, and the industry has one country to thank for it: China. That’s according to a Dec. 23 report from The NPD Group, which examined the state of the 4K and overall TV industries ahead of the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show.

“China is leading the charge, and there are a number of brands — big global brands — that are focused on low cost,” said Paul Gagnon, director for global TV research at NPD DisplaySearch. “The quality isn’t as good as what you see here in the U.S. But while the American consumer is more focused on quality, the Chinese consumer is focused on lower prices.”

Click here to read the full story…

Cognitive Adds Watchwith Tech to Interactive TV Platform

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

By Chris Tribbey

Cognitive Networks, whose automatic content recognition (ACR) technology is built in to consumer electronics products, has announced partnerships with interactive content platforms Watchwith and Ensequence, building out a first-of-its-kind Smart TV ecosystem.

Watchwith and Ensequence will have their technologies added to Cognitive’s Engage API, which allows content providers to trigger opt-in based applications that synchronize with live or time-shifted TV. LG Electronics already has the tech built in to its HDTVs, and Showtime has used the technology for more than one show.

“What happens here, and it’s smart, is the ACR is built directly into the TV, and it identifies content regardless of where it’s coming from, whether it be over cable, satellite or OTT,” said Zane Vella, CEO and founder of Watchwith. “The television is now aware of the content and has the technical ability to pop things up at the right time.”

Rovi Adds to Metadata Partnerships with TuneIn Deal (MESA)

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

By Chris Tribbey

Online and mobile audio streaming service TuneIn Radio has partnered with Rovi Corp. to use its metadata for albums, songs and artists.

TuneIn has more than 100,000 radio stations and more than two million on-demand programs streaming from every continent. It’s available on more than 200 connected devices and lays claim to 40 million monthly active listeners.

“With our data set they’re able to provide information about artists, albums and songs,” said Damian Francis, senior account manager for digital entertainment, metadata and technology sales for Rovi. “And it covers wherever TuneIn is available.”

Rovi’s metadata is now being used for TuneIn’s online product, and will be added across the company’s mobile apps soon, with connected HDTVs and set-top apps following that, Francis said. “We’ll power the TuneIn experience wherever it’s operated,” he said.

TuneIn is licensing Rovi’s metadata for North America, Europe and the United Kingdom, Rovi’s music data will improve information for more than three million album releases and nearly 30 million tracks.

“We are constantly looking for new ways to enhance the listening experience for our 40 million monthly listeners,” said Kristin George, VP of product at TuneIn. “Rovi’s expansive library of music data is a natural fit for our global music offering.”

“Certainly we’re not just a metadata company, but metadata is certainly a very important element for a number of services we offer,” Francis said. “Metadata is what eventually you’re going to be the first thing you engage with when it comes to the digital media you consume. And metadata is also what will keep you engaged, allow you to discover new shows, new songs and new artists.”

Second Screen Summit at CES Preview

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

By Chris Tribbey

It’s looking more and more like the fight for the digital video consumer will be won or lost via the second screen and all its evolving components, from TV Everywhere to OTT to social TV.

The second screen will be center stage Jan. 6 at the 2nd Screen Summit, the half-day, official conference partner with the International Consumer Electronics Show.

Tablet growth is expected to jump 53% in 2013 and tablets owners are spending increasing amounts of time consuming video on their devices. According to Zane Vella, CEO and founder of Watchwith and one of the event panelists, the second screen is quickly becoming the first screen.

“Consumer habits are changing so fast, ‘second screen’ has become a tricky term,” he said. “The first screen is wherever your primary attention is. And I think the big story at CES this year is TV Everywhere and the second screen having to become the first for many segments of consumers.”

The 2nd Screen Summit’s preliminary program kicks off with panels focusing on the advertising prospects for the second screen and a discussion of the trends in mobile viewing. “Advertising Update: From 2nd Screen to All Screens” will feature Brian Gaskamp, SVP of North American corporate development for Videology, Will Harvey, creative lab technologist for Ogilvy London and Jesse Redness, chief strategy officer for Mass Relevance discussing the growth of online video ads and which ads work (and which ones don’t).

“By the Numbers: Trends in Mobile Viewing” will see panelists focusing on the surge in tablet ownership and mobile video viewing, and how the second screen world is on pace to be a $6 billion business by 2017.

Ian Schafer, CEO and founder of Deep Focus and Watchwith’s Vella will walk attendees through the realities of the second screen world (who’s winning and who’s being left behind) in a “Breaking through the Hype” panel, while a discussion centered around specific projects from creatives and developers will take place during “Leading by Example: Successful Uses of 2nd Screen Tech.”

“Has the 2nd Screen Become the 1st Screen?” will see Evan Young, senior director of product marketing for TiVo offering his take on the second screen’s place as a companion device to the living room screen. The “Guiding ‘Tune-in’ through Discovery” panel will feature executives from DISH Network, Dijit and Digitalsmiths discussing content discovery gains in the industry.

The summit will close with the panels “Monetization Strategies that Work” and “Is There an App for That?” The former will feature Viggle’s Greg Consiglio, Yume’s

Ed Haslam, Unicorn Media’s AJ McGowan and Samba.tv’s Ashwin Navin, while the latter will have Ian Aaron, CEO of ConnecTV and D.P. Venkatesh, CEO of mPortal.

On Jan. 7, 1 p.m. at the Convention Center North Hall, Guy Finley, executive director of MESA and the 2nd Screen Society, will keep the second screen theme running, moderating a panel about how the second screen is reinventing the TV experience. That panel is scheduled to include David Bishop, president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Luis Goicouria, SVP of the PGA Tour, Ivan Perez-Armandaruz, chief digital officer for Crispin Porter + Bogusky and Scott Schiller, EVP of digital advertising sales for NBC Universal.

The 2nd Screen Summit kicks off at 1 p.m. at Treasure Island Hotel & Casino. For registration information visit: 2ndscreensociety.com/ces2014.

ARRIS Adds Digitalsmiths, ThinkAnalytics Recommendation Platforms

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

By Chris Tribbey

Atlanta-based video and broadband technology company ARRIS Group said Dec. 19 it’s integrated content recommendation platforms from Digitalsmiths and ThinkAnalytics into its merchandiser content marketing solution.

ARRIS said the additions will give service providers and content programmers a more robust solution to market their content catalogues to various platforms.

“Consumers crave more content, but finding what you want, when you want among the sheer amount of available options can be an overwhelming,” said Neerav Shah, VP and GM of multiscreen infrastructure for ARRIS. “Our merchandiser multiscreen solution streamlines user preferences, marketing and promotion processes, and aggregates all linear, VOD, over-the-top (OTT) and non-video assets including games. Service providers benefit from a new way to monetize multiscreen.”

ARRIS’s merchandiser solution has already launched in Europe and is slated for release for service providers in 2014. The company said the offering provides personalized recommendations, targeted pricing, ads, support for multiple digital rights management systems and multiscreen capabilities.

Hulu Hits $1 Billion in Annual Revenue

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

By Chris Tribbey

For the first time, subscription VOD service Hulu will top revenue of $1 billion for the year 2013, up from $695 million in 2008, the company announced Dec. 18.

“When you think about the fact that Hulu first launched out of beta in 2008, it’s quite an impressive feat to scale the business from zero to $1 billion over the course of just six years,” Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins wrote in a blog post.

Co-owned by Disney, Fox and Comcast, Hulu and Hulu Plus now offer content from 488 partners, covering more than 86,000 TV episodes from 2,900 series. Hulu Plus reached 5 million subscribers earlier in the year, and is currently accessible on more than 400 million devices.

“We launched more than 20 Hulu Originals in 2013, and plan to double that number over the next few years,” Hopkins said. “Shows like ‘The Awesomes,’ ‘Behind the Mask’ and ‘The Wrong Mans’ performed extremely well on the service, and were among the top 10 most-watched shows on Hulu each week a new episode aired.”

During the year, Hulu saw its advertising base grow to more than 1,000 brands, up 15% from 2012. Consumers streamed more than 1 billion videos each quarter, averaging 50 minutes per session. And Hopkins said it added more than 260 employees over the course of the year.

“As we scale the business in 2014, we will continue to invest in content, technology and people,” he added. “2014 will bring even more opportunity as we find new ways to grow the business from the strong foundation we have built.”

Swedish Pirate Fined $657,500 for One File Share

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

By Chris Tribbey

A Swedish court has handed down a 4.3 million krona ($657,500) for uploading a movie to a file-sharing site, the largest ever for a piracy case in a country that’s had its share of pirated content controversy.

The unnamed man was also given a suspended jail sentence and 160 hours community service for file-sharing 517 total movies.

Click here for the full story…

Swedish Pirate Fined $657,500 for One File Share

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

By Chris Tribbey

A Swedish court has handed down a 4.3 million krona ($657,500) for uploading a movie to a file-sharing site, the largest ever for a piracy case in a country that’s had its share of pirated content controversy.

The unnamed man was also given a suspended jail sentence and 160 hours community service for file-sharing 517 total movies. According to Henrik Pontén, legal counsel for the anti-piracy group Rights Alliance, the fine amounts to what the man would have paid if he had bought a license to distribute the movie as a free download.

“This shows what damages the creators and rights holders are caused by illegal filesharing,” he said. “In the future a number of criminal cases are up for trial and damages will be brought forward for one or several movies.”

Sweden is home to the Pirate Party, a political party founded in 2006 that seeks to reform laws on copyrights. The country was once home to The Pirate Bay, a site dedicated to illegal filesharing, before its founders were put on trial in 2009. Currently the site operates out of Guyana.

Torrent news service TorrentFreak reported the man is 28 and was a moderator and uploader to the now-defunct Swebits BitTorrent tracking service

CDSA Panel: Protecting Your Content Takes a Village

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

By Chris Tribbey

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — It’s not that Warner isn’t protecting its content. Far from it. It’s just that most of its anti-piracy technology is meant to serve as a deterrent to would-be thieves, according to Janice Pearson, manager of Warner Bros. Entertainment’s anti-piracy strategy and operations.

“We’re using tools that are not necessarily protecting the content … the predominate ones we use are more of a deterrent in in nature,” she said, speaking Dec. 12 at the Content Delivery & Storage Association’s Content Protection Summit. Her panel was moderated by Mary Yurkovic, director of the Hollywood IT Society’s Content Strategy Council.

Invisible and visible watermarking and fingerprinting and encryption technologies are among the tools at the disposal of content owners today. And they are effective.

“They’re very helpful in keeping pirated content down, and it’ll be interesting to see those technologies continue to evolve,” Pearson said.

Wesley Simpson, VP of media asset management for Turner Broadcasting System, said technology isn’t the only tool that can be used to manage assets and protect them. Internally, knowing your employees and their motivations helps as well, he said.

“We really try to focus on the behaviors,” he said. “It’s real easy for new employees who come through the door in helping to teach them how to do their job and what not to do with the content. Restrict the content, [inform them about] what they can and can not see.”

Turner ties employee performance with digital asset management results, how well content is protected, and stressing that success means good things for everyone involved.

“Employees respond quite well when it hits their wallet, affects their paycheck, so we try to build into their goals, meeting content security [goals] throughout the year,” Simpson said. “[And] there has to be some repercussions if they don’t act in a certain way.

“Unfortunately there’s no silver bullet. We do it on a multi-prong basis, where we focus heavily on putting the content security boards in place, as well as security czars, but that’s a small portion of the equation. There’s a whole human element that tends to get overlooked.”

Turner employees have to sign content protection agreements, and even watch videos on what to do and not to do in order to keep the company’s assets safe.

Pearson agreed, saying that even the healthiest, internal IT infrastructure can fail if content asset management rules aren’t reinforced at every level in the supply chain.

“A successful content protection strategy does not happen in a vacuum,” said. “It requires continual collaboration of all the divisions of our organization, as well as with the third parties that handle our content, international licensees, and fellow MPAA member studios.”

Yurkovic noted that not everything is automated in delivering content, that there are still a lot of manual processes, many “human touch points” for any one piece of content. For all the precautions content owners take to minimize exposure, “sometimes it’s just not possible,” she said.

Multiple vendors and multiple solutions used by those vendors can mean security holes, panelists said, especially with shrinking post-theatrical windows for content.

“One of the challenges that we have is that shrinking window,” Pearson said. “There’s a great deal of work that needs to be done in a short window in order to meet your deadlines for the video release. As we have our VOD, EST, UltraViolet very early, sometimes before the actual hard goods, it does create difficulties, because it is a very manual process.”

Communication with digital partners can break down, content may get posted legally but on the wrong release schedule, rendering security precautions moot. “It’s a challenge we’re going to continue to have … and improve upon,” Pearson said.

And international agreements are an even tougher nut to crack sometimes. What used to be months of preparation has now been boiled down to weeks for content owners, “forcing us to look at new methods for distributing our content,” Simpson said. “And a tape probably isn’t the best way to do that anymore.”

Cloud-based solutions are a risky proposition for content, but do prove helpful for services, like transcodes, he added.

Ernst & Young: Social is Huge. But is it Profitable?

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

By Chris Tribbey

You’ve probably noticed Ron Burgundy everywhere you look the last few weeks. James Chadam, principal of advisory services for Ernst & Young, has noticed too.

“What we have now is a very interesting time,” he said of the major marketing campaign ahead of the Dec. 18 release of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. “We can look to true ROI on social. Paramount’s investment in social is the biggest ever. Others have done it quietly. But when it comes to Ron Burgundy, the number of initiatives that are being pushed up, the level of investment in places like Tumblr, the innovations small videos that are being sent around the world.”

“There’s speculation whether or not this is going to be successful, that this is over-saturation in the marketplace. We’ll get to see whether or not the returns are there.”

Click here to read the full story…

Ernst & Young: Social is Huge. But is it Profitable?

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

By Chris Tribbey

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — You’ve probably noticed Ron Burgundy everywhere you look the last few weeks. James Chadam, principal of advisory services for Ernst & Young, has noticed too.

“What we have now is a very interesting time,” he said of the major marketing campaign ahead of the Dec. 18 release of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. “We can look to true ROI on social. Paramount’s investment in social is the biggest ever. Others have done it quietly. But when it comes to Ron Burgundy, the number of initiatives that are being pushed up, the level of investment in places like Tumblr, the innovations small videos that are being sent around the world.”

“There’s speculation whether or not this is going to be successful, that this is oversaturation in the marketplace. We’ll get to see whether or not the returns are there.”

The use of social media, especially by corporations, is increasing at an amazing pace, Chadam said during a Forecast: Hollywood presentation Dec. 10. Nearly every Fortune 500 company has a Twitter account, 95% of Fortune 500 companies have set up social media listening posts, and the average company overall has 178 social media assets.

But this push to capture consumers’ attention in the social world has opened up problems as well, Chadam added. Only 5% of companies are responding to what consumers are telling them. Companies make social media initiatives and then do almost no ROI assessment after the fact.

“I can barely keep up with mine, and I’m supposed to be an expert in this business,” he said. “It’s a blur.”

Only 25% of companies are training their employees to make social a priority, and very few (7%) have established policies on how to deal with trademarks and copyrights on social media services.

“Creating a social capability within your organization is about continuing to build trust,” Chadam stressed. He said roughly half of consumers trust businesses to do right by them, 70% trust recommendations from their friends or family and 90% trust peer recommendations. “Trusted companies come out of recessions faster, trusted companies lose less steam … and it turns out social can really accelerate trust.”

Now, it works both ways: companies can’t always trust what’s out there in terms of social from consumers. Just look at fake Facebook profiles.

“When we try to mine the data about who they are, a good chunk of it is a lie,” Chadam said. “It’s really important that we understand what’s around, and try to ferret out the lies.”

Second Screen Panelists: What Happens on TV Still Most Important

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

By Chris Tribbey

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Yes, more and more households have several screens at their disposal, and yes, more and more people are utilizing second screens for content of every variety.

But the big screen in the living room is still the most important, analysts stressed at the Forecast: Hollywood event.

“If a big screen is available in the home, they will go to it,” said David Mercer, VP and principal analyst for Strategy Analytics. “We see this continuously with our family studies.”

Mercer’s analysis shows a worldwide addressable TV screen install base (covering tablets, mobile PCs, smartphones, desktops and the main TV screen) of about 5 billion in 2013. By 2017 that number will be 7.2 billion. There’s been a 200% increase in displays in just the past decade, 85% of that being new TVs.

“It’s not just about TV screens,” Mercer said. “Everybody knows the traditional TV market is secure, but it’s not falling apart by any means. There’s some exciting stuff coming around the corner, with Ultra HD.”

Tablets, though, are coming on strong, he added. Over the course of just two quarters, from Q4 2012 to summer 2013, tablet usage more than doubled among younger age groups. During that same period of time, over-the-top video usage grew 20%, a number that’s even higher in Europe. Strategy Analytics forecasts a 35% growth in OTT revenues in 2013, with total OTT revenue of $30.5 billion by 2018.

“Tablets, there’s no question, have been fundamentally disruptive to so many segments,” Mercer said.

And as for TV Everywhere, Mercer shared data showing that 14% of American households have those apps available, compared to 4% in Europe, but that only 5% of TV Everywhere households in the U.S. are using those apps daily (2% for Europe).

Sandra Susino, associate partner of media and entertainment for IBM Global Business Services, said the all-important question consumer electronics companies, service providers and content owners need to answer is: what do consumers want with their multiscreen experience?

She shared real-world examples IBM has produced for The Masters golf tournament and the U.S. Open tennis championship. Live videos, VOD for specific shots, up-to-the-second stats, interactive content. Things like that actually work, she said.

“Consumers want to feel the experience of actually being at the event,” she said. That second screen, rich media content, “can be a compelling form of entertainment” in and of itself. Consumers also want control of their experience, she stressed.

Up next, she says smarter ways of geo-targeting mobile devices will up the second screen experience for consumers.

Chuck Parker, chairman of the 2nd Screen Society, shared a series of data points, showing that there were 46 billion online videos, supported by 22.9 billion ads, during the month of September. However, nearly 23% of online ads were blocked.

Tablets will see 53% growth in 2013, but for all the hype about second screen apps, consumers by a two-to-one margin said they prefer to find what they’re looking for via the mobile Internet, not an app.

Blake White, director of entertainment, media and communication, for PricewaterhouseCoopers noted that half of consumers said they use mobile devices while watching TV, and 39% said they wanted to access additional content with those mobile devices while watching.

Mercer added that the idea a “smart” TVs — those TVs with apps already built in — isn’t dead, but the majority of consumers go straight to apps that deal with video, passing on the rest.

“I don’t see what’s so smart about a TV that makes it complicated to get to an app,” Susino said. “The complexity of using that device is not smart, and frankly, I reject the term.”

White added that part of the problem is the people building those TVs aren’t completely aware of the consumer frustration of using the apps. He suggested devices like Google’s ChromeCast dongle are the better way to access apps on a connected TV.

Jim Bottoms, executive director of the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance Europe, closed out the Forecast: Hollywood event with a reminder that for all the changes in the industry, big screen or small, “the only constant is change.”

“There’s room for all these things,” he said, noting that one of the fastest growing consumer electronics areas is audio, with a resurgence in vinyl LP sales. “Look back to look forward. We’re in a very fragmented, very personalized world.

“It’s all about don’t rule anything out. It is all about nothing goes away. This business isn’t going to get boring anytime soon.”

IHS: OTT Device Shipments to Hit 1.7 Billion

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

By Chris Tribbey

Shipments of over-the-top (OTT) enabled devices, capable of accessing content like Netflix and Hulu, are set to hit 1.7 billion units by the end of the year, a 20% jump from 1.43 billion in 2012, according to a report from IHS. The 1.7 billion units equates to enough OTT systems for one of every four people on the planet, and the numbers will only continue to go up: in 2014 there will be another 20% jump, and by 2017, IHS forecasts there will be 2.67 billion OTT devices shipped.

Click here to read the full story….

IHS: OTT Device Shipments to Hit 1.7 Billion

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

By Chris Tribbey

Shipments of over-the-top (OTT) enabled devices, capable of accessing content like Netflix and Hulu, are set to hit 1.7 billion units by the end of the year, a 20% jump from 1.43 billion in 2012, according to a report from IHS.

The 1.7 billion units equates to enough OTT systems for one of every four people on the planet, and the numbers will only continue to go up: in 2014 there will be another 20% jump, and by 2017, IHS forecasts there will be 2.67 billion OTT devices shipped.

OTT devices included in IHS’s tally include set-top boxes, Blu-ray Disc players, Internet-enabled TVs, game consoles, digital media adapters like Apple TV or Roku, tablets, PCs and smartphones.

“Content owners, operators and consumers all are driving the proliferation of the OTT model,” said Jordan Selburn, senior principal analyst of consumer platforms for IHS. “Content owners want to expand the market for the films, music and videos they own. Meanwhile, operators wish to use OTT in order to add value to their services and keep subscribers from cancelling TV subscriptions in favor of purely broadband connections — preventing what the industry calls ‘cutting the cord.’ Consumers, for their part, desire access to a wide variety of media at the time and place of their own choosing.”

PCs and smartphones make up a large chunk of the devices, together accounting for 836 million in 2012. Approximately 480 million of non-PC, non-smartphone devices will ship this year, up 30%. Handheld gaming devices are the only ones not expected to see an increase in shipments in 2013.

Analyst: New CDN A Boon for Netflix

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

By Chris Tribbey

Now that Netflix’s own content delivery network (CDN) is up and running, the company should see substantial savings now that it doesn’t have to pay service fees to third-party CDNs going forward, according to an analyst report.

The report from Zacks Investment Research notes that Open Connect is a single purpose video CDN, directly connecting Netflix’s video library to Internet service providers (ISPs), allowing for seamless and faster data transfer.

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

“ISP speeds are consistently much better for customers served by ISPs that directly connect their network to Netflix using our Open Connect content delivery network,” Netflix announced in November when releasing its prime time ISP performance results. “This performance difference is even more evident during prime time.”

The Zacks report noted that Netflix has added 5.99 million domestic subscribers and 4.88 million international subscribers in the past 12 months, and expanded its original programming slate thanks to partnerships with DreamWorks Animation, AMC and Disney.

Netflix is also planning on beefing up its original programming in 2014.

“We believe that these initiatives will be incrementally beneficial for the company, helping it to add new subscribers and retain the older ones, going forward,” the Zacks report reads. “[Also] Netflix s applications for both Android and Apple devices have helped it to expand its market share.”

Netflix is facing stiffer competition from the likes of Amazon.com and HBO, with Redbox Instant by Verizon also expected to intensify the competition in 2014.

“Netflix s popularity primarily depends on its ability to deliver new and updated content,” the report reads. “This is a major challenge for the company, as it continues to face cost escalation from higher license and renewal fees. Netflix has $6.5 billion due for content streaming obligations, out of which $2.78 billion needs to be paid within the next 12 months. After that period, Netflix needs to pay $2.83 billion within the next three years.”

Testronic Supports DECE and Member Companies with UltraViolet Testing Services

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

Testronic – the global leader in quality assurance services for film and television, games, software, and digital television – works closely with the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) to provide testing services for UltraViolet implementations. DECE is the cross-industry consortium responsible for creating and operating UltraViolet, a home entertainment industry standard delivering a new and compelling way to collect and enjoy movies and TV shows. Stringent testing of content and device interoperability is a core component of the success of DECE’s industry effort.

Click to read more…

Testronic Supports DECE and Member Companies with UltraViolet™ Testing Services

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

Testronic – the global leader in quality assurance services for film and television, games, software, and digital television – works closely with the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) to provide testing services for UltraViolet implementations. DECE is the cross-industry consortium responsible for creating and operating UltraViolet, a home entertainment industry standard delivering a new and compelling way to collect and enjoy movies and TV shows. Stringent testing of content and device interoperability is a core component of the success of DECE’s industry effort. Testronic has extensive experience in UltraViolet testing, working closely with DECE to support testing of UltraViolet functionality as part of DECE’s interoperability testing and compliance verification programs. Testronic has been testing UltraViolet content, players, and web portals for more than a year, and will offer expanded services to its member companies directly.

UltraViolet is based on open, licensable specifications and is designed by DECE to create a viable, global digital marketplace. DECE’s digital media specifications, logo program, and interoperable digital rights library enable consumers to purchase digital video rights for movies and TV shows from a choice of online, in-app and physical retailers, and play it on a variety of branded devices and platforms from different manufacturers. Content that is destined for UltraViolet must undergo rigorous testing before it reaches the consumer marketplace.

“As both a service provider and a valued DECE Member, Testronic is playing an important role in the deployment of UltraViolet solutions,” said Mark Teitell, General Manager and Executive Director of DECE/UltraViolet, “ranging from tests for UltraViolet-compatible web services that are in-market today to interoperability testing for the components of the ‘Common File Format’ ecosystem that will launch soon.”

Jason Gish, General Manager and Senior Vice President of Testronic, commented, “The industry turns to DECE for thought leadership and guidance as digital content distribution and the consumer’s interaction with it continue to evolve. We value our relationship with DECE and its member companies, and we look forward to continuing to serve them. Testronic has a unique depth of experience and focus in this segment of the market, and we are dedicated to working together to provide the highest level of support possible.”

Technicolor Animation Picked Up By Disney XD

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

Paris-based Technicolor and Canada’s Mercury Filmworks have hooked up with Gaumont Animation to co-develop and co-produce the animated series “Atomic Puppet,” with Disney XD in France and the U.S. and Teletoon in Canada picking up broadcast distribution. The series follows a young boy whose puppet is actually a powerful superhero … in the right hands. “It has been tremendous fun developing this show with Mercury; and it’s exciting to now have Gaumont Animation joining the creative team,” said Technicolor VP Steven Wendland. “The humorous stories that underscore adventure and fun will be relatable to kids throughout the globe and we’re excited to be working with Disney XD and Teletoon.” Clint Eland, president and executive producer of Mercury Filmworks, added: “The addition of Gaumont Animation as a co-producer and the caliber of broadcasters supporting the series are very satisfying validations of the time and creative energy Mercury and Technicolor have invested in Atomic Puppet.”

 

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.

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