Experts Tackle Security in the Cloud

April 9, 2014 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Justin Somaini, VP and chief trust officer, for online file sharing and cloud content management service Box, believes companies that deal with the secure delivery of content in the cloud are finally starting to ask the most important questions when they take on a new client. “What’s the actually value of their content [and] what is the impact of a security failure?” he said April 9, speaking at the annual NAB Show during a panel on cloud reliability and security. “A script is just a file for all intents and purposes. But movies are there to get an emotional reaction.

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BBC, Fortium Share ‘Dr. Who’ Distribution Story

April 4, 2014 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

So much could have gone wrong last November with the global, multiplatform debut of BBC Worldwide’s Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special: The Day of the Doctor, it’s no surprise Robin Boldon wants to highlight everything that went right.

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MediaSilo Preps for NAB

March 27, 2014 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

A partnership announcement with Amazon, updated iOS apps and a happy hour. This year’s NAB show is shaping up to be a good one for MediaSilo. The provider of cloud-based media workflow and collaboration solutions wants to save most of the details about its Amazon partnership for the show. However, Joe Foxton, VP of product marketing, was able to share some details ahead of the April conference.

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Comcast, Netflix Go Back and Forth Ahead of Senate Hearing

March 21, 2014 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

The back and forth between Netflix and Comcast March 20 was something Comcast executives likely could have done with out, ahead of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing over the proposed $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable.

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Study: TV Still Reigns … For Now

March 20, 2014 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

A new study from multiplatform video company Vubiquity finds that the living room TV is still the most popular source of video content, with 83% of people using it on a weekly basis, 47% on a daily basis. But other screens are coming up fast: three-quarters of people under 35s are also using a computer for video viewing on a weekly basis and 64% of 13- to 17-year-olds are watch video on a smartphone on a weekly basis (37% on a daily basis).

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DVD by Mail Isn’t Dead … Yet

March 18, 2014 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

When Dish-owned Blockbuster ended its DVD-by-mail business earlier this year, it left Netflix as the sole survivor in the world of physical disc distribution at the mailbox. Temporarily, at least.

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ISP Broadband Adds Slowed in 2013

March 17, 2014 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Internet service providers (ISPs) added 2.6 million new broadband customers in 2013, down 5% from 2012, according to a new report from Leichtman Research Group.

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Technicolor Makes Digital, IP Personnel Moves

March 12, 2014 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Technicolor recently made some major personnel changes in its IP and digital entertainment divisions. On the IP front, the Paris-based company installed Kenneth Bridges as its SVP of intellectual property enforcement and litigation, with Bridges handling all IP-enforcement responsibilities for the company’s technology businesses, as well as its research and innovation laboratories.

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Digitalsmiths: Pay-TV Content Discovery Needs Work

March 11, 2014 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Content recommendation and discovery company Digitalsmiths — recently acquired by TiVo — has released its latest consumer video trends research report, and the numbers could prove problematic for pay-TV providers.

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2014 Hollywood IT Summit (HITS) Announces Programs, Dates

March 7, 2014 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

The leading members of the Hollywood IT community will convene for their annual conference on April 22 when the annual Hollywood IT Summit (HITS) moves to a new, expanded location at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on April 22, 2014.  This year’s theme, “Get Ready for Your Digital Makeover Hollywood” will explore IT’s role in shaping the digital future of their enterprises, from production to distribution to the overall studio operation.

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Disney, Dish End Litigation, Renew Distribution Deal

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

By Chris Tribbey

The Walt Disney Co. and Dish Network reached an agreement late March 3 that provides Dish customers access to Disney-owned content across all devices, and ends litigation between the companies over Dish’s PrimeTime Anytime and AutoHop technologies.

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Analyst: Netflix Fooled Investors

February 24, 2014 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

When Netflix and Comcast announced Sunday that they had signed a multi-year interconnection agreement, the two companies said in a joint statement that Netflix would not receive any preferential network treatment, and that the partnership would allow “for future growth in Netflix traffic.”

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Doctor Who 50th Anniversary – BBC Worldwide to discuss Supply Chain Challenges at HITS Europe

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

On 23rd November last year the BBC aired a special edition of Doctor Who to mark the 50th anniversary of the longest running sci-fi television series in the world. It became one of the greatest entertainment supply chain challenges ever undertaken.

Such is the global appeal of the series that the occasion was confirmed as a new Guinness World Record for the largest simulcast of a TV drama in history, watched by viewers in 98 countries worldwide.

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IHS: Cloud-Based Dependence on the Rise

February 14, 2014 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Global business spending for cloud-related infrastructure and services will hit $174.2 billion this year, up 20% from $145.2 billion in 2013, and the number of global consumer cloud subscriptions is expected to hit 730 million this year, up from 630 million in 2013, according to a new report from IHS.

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Extreme Reach Buys DG TV Business; Sizmek Emerges

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

By Chris Tribbey

Cloud-based ad management, delivery and measurement company Extreme Reach recently closed its $485 million acquisition of the TV assets of Digital Generation (DG), giving Extreme Reach a combined client base of more than 9,000.

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Weather Co. Chooses Sony Media Cloud Services

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

By Chris Tribbey

The Weather Co. — which delivers worldwide weather information via The Weather Channel, weather.com, Weather Underground, Intellicast.com, and third-party publishing partners —has partnered with Sony Media Cloud Services for cloud-based video content services.

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Analyst: Expect DivX Sale Update from Rovi

February 10, 2014 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

Rovi Corp. is expected to announce positive fourth quarter financial results when the markets close Feb. 12, mostly thanks to the company’s deals with over-the-top services, according to an analyst.

However, its those OTT deals that’s had Rovi considering a sale of its DivX unit since October, according to Eric Wold, analyst with B. Riley & Co.

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Level 3 Sees Profit Rise

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

By Chris Tribbey

Communications technology company Level 3 ended the year in fine fashion, posting a fourth quarter profit of $14 million, compared to a loss of $56 million during the  fourth quarter of 2012.

The results came despite a minor drop in quarterly revenue, $1.6 billion for the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to $1.61 a year ago.

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Analyst: Amazon Prime Price Bump Wouldn’t Hurt

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

By Chris Tribbey

Amazon probably wouldn’t lose too many customers if it raised the cost of its Amazon Prime memberships, an analyst said the day after Amazon released its financial results and suggested it may increase the annual $79 Prime subscription cost by $20-$40.

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TiVo to Buy Content-Recommendations Firm Digitalsmiths for $135 Million (Variety)

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

TiVo plans to acquire Digitalsmiths, a provider of TV and movie content discovery and recommendation services, for $135 million in cash. Digitalsmiths offers personalized video search, recommendations and browsing, social trending, and mood-based discovery across multiple devices. The firm works with 46 U.S. and international service providers, including seven of the top 10 pay-TV operators in the United States, as well as content providers and consumer-electronics companies…

More in-depth coverage of TiVo’s acquisition of Digitalsmiths in tomorrow’s S3 2Day Newsletter.

Comcast Ups Subscribers, NBC Universal Ups Revenue

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

By Chris Tribbey

Comcast added 43,000 video subscribers during the fourth quarter, and combined video, Internet and phone customers increased by 649,000 for the company, a 29% increase from a year ago, the company said Jan. 28.

Comcast shared the numbers while announcing its fourth quarter financial results, which saw revenue up 6.2% to $16.9 billion, and a profit of $1.9 billion.

Click here to read the complete story…

Study: Mobile Video Usage Jumped 300% in 2013

January 27, 2014 · Posted in M&E Connections, M&E Daily · Comments Off 

By Chris Tribbey

In 2013 mobile video usage was up 300%, and there’s no sign of it slowing down in 2014, according to a report from the U.K.’s MPP Global Solutions.

“In 2014 we’re going to see companies moving to create more comprehensive offerings,” said Chris Welsh, VP of TV and entertainment for MPP Global Solutions. “Operators will attempt to add value and enhance their overall infrastructure.”

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Profit, Revenue Rise for Microsoft

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

By Chris Tribbey

Microsoft may still be looking for its next CEO, but it’s having no problem finding profits.

Microsoft enjoyed record revenue for the fiscal second quarter — $24.5 billion, up from $21.5 billion a year ago — with a profit of more than $6.5 billion, up from $6.4 billion. The company attributed double-digit growth in commercial and devices and consumer segments for the results.

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TransUnion Interactive’s Nieman to Talk Digital Strategies

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

By Chris Tribbey

Pat Nieman, SVP of technology at TransUnion Interactive — the consumer subsidiary of credit reporting firm TransUnion — will host an online presentation Feb. 20, titled “Attracting a New Market with Subscription Management and Billing Solutions.”

Neiman will share how TransUnion integrated subscription management and billing for Zendough.com, TransUnion’s consumer credit-check service, with the help of hybris software and business-to-business cloud computing solution Vindicia.

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TransUnion Interactive’s Nieman to Talk Digital Strategies

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

By Chris Tribbey

Pat Nieman, SVP of technology at TransUnion Interactive — the consumer subsidiary of credit reporting firm TransUnion — will host an online presentation Feb. 20, titled “Attracting a New Market with Subscription Management and Billing Solutions.”

Neiman will share how TransUnion integrated subscription management and billing for Zendough.com, TransUnion’s consumer credit-check service, with the help of Hybris software and business-to-business cloud computing solution Vindicia.

Attendees can expect to hear Nieman’s take on how digital delivery of goods and services can transform a business and enable growth; how the design of a user experience is crucial to attracting and retaining customers; the importance of selecting the right partners; and what lessons TransUnion has learned in implementing its digital strategy.

Registration for the Webinar includes a complimentary copy of TransUnion’s case study. To register please click here.

EVS Set to Showcase New Solutions for Enriched Content Production (MESA)

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

EVS,  a leading provider of live video production systems, will present its latest solutions aimed at customers in the entertainment, media and sports industries at BVE2014 in London. The Key solutions on show for TV studios, post-production facilities & live sports productions includes IPLink for Adobe, EVS’ plug-in panel for advanced integration with the new Adobe Premiere Pro suite; OpenCube HD/SD, EVS’ most comprehensive solution yet for ingest and mastering in file-based workflows; EVS’ new 4K XT3 server provides content owners with full 4K support for Ultra-HD recording and replay, giving them increased flexibility and making their workflow 100% future-proof.

EVS provides its customers with reliable and innovative technology to enable the production of live, enriched video programming, allowing them to work more efficiently and boost their revenue streams. Its industry-leading broadcast and media production systems are used by broadcasters, production companies, post-production facilities, film studios, content owners and archive libraries around the globe. It spans four key markets – Sports, Entertainment, News and Media.

Click here for more information about EVS and their upcoming showcase at BVE2014.

Gelick: Second Screen Space Has ‘Exploded’

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

By Chris Tribbey

LAS VEGAS — When CBS announced it would let fans of “Hawaii Five-0” on both coasts vote for one of three episode endings via Twitter, and air the ending they chose, a lot of those fans thought CBS was pulling their collective leg.

“The fans were really testing us to see if we would show two different endings,” said Rob Gelick, SVP and GM of digital platforms for CBS Interactive. “It worked.”

Not only had CBS actually filmed three different endings — and aired two different versions on the East and West coasts — the company also directed fans online to watch all three versions.

So goes the modern world of content, where voting with a second screen actually impacts what happens on the first screen, where content creators take into account laptops, tablets and smartphones while writing scripts.

Today CBS provides constant second screen companion content for nine shows, and offers massive second screen options for live events, from the Super Bowl to the Grammys. With those second screen companions, CBS show fans are spending an average of 26 minutes engaging with them, Gelick said.

“In a big sense we’re trying to extend the lifecycle of the content,” Gelick said. “When they come in for 30 minutes, 60 minutes [for a broadcast] how do you keep the dialogue going?”

Maybe CBS Interactive’s greatest second screen success was for Big Brother,” CBS offered five live, 24-hour video feeds to the inside of the house, charging fans $10 a month for access. It worked: fans of the show streamed 10 million hours of the live feeds, and made 31 million comments over the summer using a chat feature.

“It was a powerful tool” used religiously by “uber-fans,” Gelick said.

The second screen is causing companies like CBS to be bolder with their content plans for live events. Next up is a multi-day event leading up to this month’s Grammys, which will give fans online access to the red carpet proceedings. “It doesn’t exist on broadcast,” Gelick said. “It’s digital only.”

For “How I Met Your Mother,” social media drove engagement, and has actually driven more people to the broadcasts of the show. For the new show “Intelligence,” CBS, look for multiple versions of the same episode, with some including commentary from the show’s creators.

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.

 

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