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Samsung’s Milk Music has been downloaded 380,000 times

NewTeeVee - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 21:20

Milk Music, the Pandora competitor that Samsung launched in early March, has been downloaded 380,000 times already. Samsung Media Solutions Center President Wonpyo Hong revealed this number during an interview with the Wall Street Journal about Milk and other service initiatives.

Hong said that Samsung is planning a premium version of Milk. The service is currently free and completely ad-free, but that apparently won’t be the case forever:  Last week, Samsung accidentally published an infographic with details about Milk Music’s future.

The infographic, which has since been removed from Samsung’s website, suggested that ads will come to the free version of Milk soon. It also mentioned a $3.99 per month premium version that will be ad-free and offer “some exclusive features.”

Milk Music is only available for select Samsung handsets, but Hong said that the company wants to bring it to tablets and additional phones soon. However, it doesn’t look like the company has any plans to extend it to phones made by competitors. Speaking about Samsung’s service initiatives, Hong said:

“At the moment, we’d like to create an experience uniquely on our device because the fundamental core part of our business is selling hardware. So the main purpose of this software innovation is to create value on our device.”

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Categories: Video News

Surprise, Joss Whedon fans: His new film, In Your Eyes, is now available via Vimeo

NewTeeVee - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 19:30

Tonight, the supernatural romance In Your Eyes, written by Joss Whedon and directed by Brin Hill (Won’t Back Down), made its official world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. But immediately after the screening came a surprise announcement from Whedon — the film was now available digitally, and globally. In Your Eyes may now be rented for $5 for 72 hours, exclusively through Vimeo On Demand.

It’s a huge coup for the self-distribution platform, which launched last year. “This is the most high profile title we’ve had on the platform, definitely,” Vimeo general manager of audience networks Greg Clayman said via phone. “The fact that people like Joss are starting to think about direct distribution and connecting directly with their fans is exciting for us, and a trend we think will continue.”

When a film premieres at a festival like Tribeca, it’s typically months away from being available to general audiences — a sentiment Hill noticed when people reacted to the three-minute opening scene, which was released last Friday.

“The first three minutes got people excited — but then they said ‘now we have to wait a year,’” Hill said via phone. “And in a traditional model we would be waiting a year or six months or nine months for a studio to put together a campaign. But this is it. This is our plan.”

Whedon, of course, is a cult favorite among TV fans and the blockbuster director behind Marvel’s The Avengers, though he’s also a digital pioneer — his first major independent production, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog, was a major milestone for digital content.

Hill got involved with Whedon and Kai Cole’s Bellwether Pictures (which released Whedon’s micro-budget adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing last year) after meeting Whedon and Cole socially. “Always accept invitations to cocktail parties,” Hill advised.

“I love the spirit of what they’re after, which is let’s go make fun movies, without the normal protocol of studios and whatever,” he added.

The initial connection between Bellwether and Vimeo came through Eyes producer Michael Roiff: “Once they discovered that we were in the business of providing tools for self-distribution, we went right from that conversation to great, how do we work together?” Clayman said.

Beyond a mysterious countdown and email sign-up at (seen below), there has been no hint of the plan to release In Your Eyes — a move reminiscent of a pop diva who sprung a brand-new album on her fans last December.

Screenshot of, taken 4/19/2014 at 6.23.50 PM PT.

Screenshot of, taken 4/19/2014 at 6.23.50 PM PT.

“I like the surprise element,” Clayman said. “It’s a non-traditional way, for sure, but hey, it works for Beyonce. I don’t think it’s dissimilar at all.”

It helps, of course, to be one of the most popular performers on the planet, or a writer/director with a rabid fanbase. “You have to have the kind of pulpit to make this kind of announcement,” Clayman said.

“Joss has built up the ability to do whatever he wants, however he wants to do it — that is cultivated by years of work, and he’s been really smart about it. This is someone who knows how to talk to his audience in a very direct and meaningful way,” Hill said.

Serving that fanbase has been a problem in the past: When Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog premiered in 2008, it was so popular on its first day of release that the website struggled to stay online.

But Clayman said that he wasn’t concerned about a similar situation occurring. “We serve 160 million unique viewers a month globally and viral hits come up every day. The infrastructure we have set up to make this happen and the quality of the player — all of those features weigh into the fact that we’ve kind of been at this for a while.”

Which is a good thing, because Vimeo is the only platform the film will be available on — according to Hill, there are no plans to seek theatrical distribution.

“This is how people are consuming [media] now — people will always go to the theater, but this is the perfect movie to consume at home,” he said. “It’s super-thrilling to me, to be on the cusp of that.”

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Categories: Video News

Record industry finds a new way to squeeze Pandora, but it won’t help musicians

NewTeeVee - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 10:31

Here we go again. The record labels have found yet another way to put their favorite scapegoat, the internet radio service Pandora, through the legal wringer. Alas, once again, the new tactic will fatten lawyers but do little to support musicians or fix a dysfunctional copyright royalty system.

In case you missed it, Capitol Records and the gang sued Pandora in New York state court this week because the service is not paying to use sound recordings made prior to 1972. The record labels say Pandora’s failure to pay for iconic tracks like “Hey Jude” and “Satisfaction” stiffed the music industry out of $60 million in 2013 alone.

The lawsuit, which mirrors a similar one filed against Sirius-XM last year, also came with the obligatory quotes from sympathetic figures like Buddy Holly’s widow, and Steve Cooper of Booker T. & the MG’s, who said:

“It’s an injustice that boggles the mind. Just like the programmers who deserve to be paid for their work, I deserve to be paid for mine.”

So what’s going on? Is Pandora really depriving these beloved musicians of their rightful royalties? The answer, as with anything related to music copyright, is that things are not as simple as they look.

In this case, the record labels are seizing on a new legal theory to get around the fact that federal copyright law only protects recordings dating from 1972. This theory holds that the older recordings are protected at the state level by a hodge-podge of laws such as common law misappropriation.

For practical purpose, this means that the record company lawyers can  blast away at Pandora in state courts from New York to New Mexico in the hope that one of their claims will stick somewhere. For Pandora, this threatens to be an expensive and painful legal journey. It’s also unfair.

Despite the record companies’ rhetoric, Pandora is paying for the older songs. Like anyone else, Pandora must pay the songwriters and their publishers, which it is doing through licensing arrangements with ASCAP and other collection agencies. And while it’s true that Pandora doesn’t pay for pre-1972 sound recordings, neither does any other radio service.

Meanwhile, under the quirks of the copyright collection system, Pandora pays through the nose for post-1972 recordings – - while its counterparts in AM/FM radio pay nothing at all. This is a big reason that Pandora currently pays out around 60 percent of its revenue in royalties, a figure that dwarfs what satellite or terrestrial services pay.

This fact will do nothing, of course, to get the record labels to let up on their lawsuit campaign against Pandora. But what do they hope to gain? Pandora is not profitable to begin with and squeezing it further won’t result in a rush of new revenue for musicians.

Even if the record labels win, Pandora would likely respond by ceasing to play the older songs rather than paying yet another licensing fee. And if its legal bills mount much higher, it may simply go out of business — an outcome that would delight certain Pandora haters, but that would do nothing to bring in more money.

The music industry’s biggest problem right now is that it has yet to find a new  business model to replace the revenue lost from the decline of CD sales. Suing Pandora, which will enrich lawyers but not musicians, will do nothing to change that. A better solution is likely to lie in a more balanced royalty scheme that relies less on lawyers and middle-men.

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Categories: Video News

RIP Flash: Why HTML5 will finally take over video and the Web this year News - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 22:00

Categories: Video News

Netflix, Amazon and Sky chase blockbuster TV exclusives News - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 22:00

Categories: Video News

VideoNuze Podcast #223 - Comcast's "Watchathon" On-Demand Success and Changing Viewer Behaviors Analysis - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 08:34

I'm pleased to present the 223rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. This week we dig into the strong performance of Comcast's recently concluded 2nd annual "Watchathon" on-demand week and more broadly, how viewing behaviors on linear, on-demand and OTT are becoming intertwined.

Comcast revealed that Watchathon week drove 61 million views and 50 million hours watched, with "Game of Thrones," "The Walking Dead" and "The Good Wife" topping the list of most popular shows. Of note was the increase in live ratings for shows that were available on Watchathon. For example, Game of Thrones' season 4 premiere was up 17% in Comcast homes, "The Mindy Project" was up 83%, "Archer" was up 78%, "Parks and Recreation" was up 49%, etc.

Colin and I discuss how this appears to support the idea that allowing easy catching-up via on-demand can be an effective tactic for networks (and pay-TV operators) to drive audience to live viewing. In fact, in a prior survey Comcast did, it found that 82% of U.S. adults are binge-viewing now, with 55% saying they preferred to do so with current season programs. By enabling both, Comcast seems to be finding a sweet spot.

One other related data point we found interesting was from Rentrak, which said fully 66% of viewing of broadcast primetime programs on demand occurred after the C3 window. By Colin's calculations, that could mean for certain shows, 20% or more of total audience isn't being counted for advertisers today.

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Categories: Video News

The Gigaom interview: Thievery Corporation’s Rob Garza on how “we live in a streaming world”

NewTeeVee - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 07:30

There is better than a good chance that while relaxing on a beach somewhere or sipping a martini in your favorite lounge you have heard music that makes raise your eyebrow and ask ”what kind of music is that?” That kind of eclectic sound — a beat blend of Asian, Middle Eastern, Reggae, Bossa Nova, dub, electronica and chillout — is something Thievery Corporation has pioneered.

Thievery Corporation’s Eric Hilton and Rob Garza formed the group in 1996 and captured music fans’ imagination with the release of their 1996 debut Sounds from the Thievery Hi-Fi. They have released eight studio albums; the latest of them being Saudade, which hit the stores on April 1, 2014. (They have also released 18 compilation albums as well.) They also started a label, Eighteen Street Lounge Music (ESL) and have introduced many genre-bending acts such as Ursula 1000 and Nicola Conte.


I have been listening to their music for almost two decades and recently I caught up with Rob Garza, who has moved to the Bay Area. The topic of our conversation was their new album, the Bossa Nova inspired Saudade, which is perhaps one of the more important releases of 2014.

Our chat wasn’t long — about 30 minutes — but we covered a whole series of topics. Of various topics, his comments about Internet culture, streaming, Spotify and label economics were the ones that were most illuminating. Here is a highly edited version of our conversation.

Om: Thank you for making time. The first question I wanted to ask you was about the creative process and the Internet — how it has changed and influenced folks like yourself.

Rob Garza: Back when we started, the internet was no were near as large as it is now in terms of music. Now everybody is using it. Back then you would actually have to go to record stores. Music was one of the ways of traveling through time and distance. Whether you go back to 1977 in London, to the punk movement or mid ’60s in Brazil to listen to Bossa Nova.

Music was a major form of that type of traveling and communication. Now it’s almost, people kind of take it for granted you can go and Google and find all the most influential Bossa Nova records, and kind of be an expert within a day or two, not really but you know what I’m saying.

I think it’s changed everything, how we make music, how we listen to music. How we consume music, how we take pictures, how we write and communicate with each other. It’s a very different world.

Do you think because of the friction to get information has gone done and out ability to get more information quickly has gone up, do you think that has given you a better ability, to understand newer music forms faster, or has it taken away that ability?

What I mean by that, when I listened to the Rolling Stones the first time, it was really expensive to buy a record when I was a kid in India. I was emotionally and financially very vested in the record and spent a lot to time trying to understand that music by listening to it again and again. Over a period of time I developed an emotional bond with it. Now, I find it much more difficult to form a bond with and artist or a song, or album in that sense.

It’s very interesting, how we value music these days. In some way’s music has lost a lot of its value, and the emotional bond that you would have with a record back in the day.

You would put it on, you would read the liner notes, you would spend the afternoon with it. You maybe listen to it a couple times and you would try to understand this particular piece of art. Now what people do — I’m even guilty of it — you have every song that you’ve ever loved on your iPod or iPhone.

I go through and I’ll listen to 30, 40 seconds of 30 different songs without getting to have, that emotional bond that I would if I actually put on a piece of vinyl, and just sit in a room and listen and connect with the whole experience of, say an album, which is kind of a foreign concept today because a lot of it is built on popularity on iTunes or Spotify, which songs are more popular by a particular artist.

That kind of connection doesn’t really exist the way that it did back in the day. With this new record, I think that we wanted to kind of explore a form of music, that’s very inspirational to us and just really dive into it. We wanted to dive into it as a whole album, rather than just one or two songs on the B side of a record.

Thievery Corporation (Rob Garza and Eric Hilton) in Washington DC

Photo of Rob Garza (left) and Eric Hilton (right) by Andrzej Liguz

One of the things which I found about this new album was that I had to listen to it at least 20 times before I actually started feeling it. I got so used to listening to tidbits of your songs, in a sense; one song somewhere, another one as part of somebody else’s playlist on Spotify, that I forgot how an album really sounded like.

Most people don’t listen to records that way (any more) and that’s the reality. Let’s say I’m a person who’s never heard of Thievery Corporation and I hear a couple songs. What am I going to do? I’m probably going to go to iTunes, pick out probably the three or four most popular songs. Download one or even a couple of them and that’ll be my experience with Thievery Corporation. Very few people probably are going to go and buy the whole record and listen to the whole record back to front, front to back, the way that we used to.

Do you think we can have an album experience in this culture of snacking, this culture of Spotify? Is there room for album listening?

There is, but it’s in the minority. Most people just want to…did you use the word snack, snack on things? That’s a good way to put it. People are just snacking. “Oh, I want to try a little bit of this. Oh, I want to try a little bit of that.” The information is just moving so quick that, in a way it’s a little rebellious to kind of make a record that’s just a soft listening, beautiful record.

Especially when we look at it, like last week it was number one on the iTunes electronic charts all week, and there’s nothing really electronic about this album, so I thought that was kind of funny.

You have an incredible vantage point. You are an artist yourself, you work with other artists; you also have a record label. You are constantly on tour. Can you talk a little bit about impact of things like Spotify, iTunes and all the digitization of music? There’s a lot of people who don’t care much about Pandora and Spotify.

Rob: It’s great that people can explore different artists, find music on Spotify, YouTube, things like that. At the same time, do I think that it’s sustainable for the music community? I don’t think so, because a lot of this money just goes back into the pockets of the tech companies. Before, it would go to major labels some things like that.


I’m not defending major labels, but at least major labels would take some of that money, and invest it to find and develop new artists, and trying to give artists a career. That’s the one…for me kind of missing link in this whole equation is that, that money goes to Google Play or goes to iTunes or goes to Pandora or Spotify.

The royalties are miniscule. Also, those companies don’t make it a habit to invest in new music, new art and new talent. It keeps a lot of resources from coming back into the community.

If you look at something like Spotify many record labels are investors in the company. So from that standpoint the money is all going back into the labels. You can say the same for Beats Music, which is owned by the music industry insiders. So, if you were to tell, for instance, the Spotify CEO what he should do in order to make the life of artists better?

The first thing to do is to be open to having a discussion to figure out what is, beneficial to everybody. What makes it win-win. What makes it more fair for people. It’s so difficult for artists today, to have a career unless you already have your, I hate to use the word “brand,” but unless you’re already an established artist, it’s more difficult than ever to make a career, or you’re able to live from making music. First, be open to discussing all of this and hearing what the artists have to say.

If you were to ask them, to do just one thing that changes a lot for the artist, what would be that thing, in your opinion?

The biggest thing people will say about Spotify is how minuscule the royalties are compared to when people were actually purchasing the music. It’s a totally different business model. You’re never going to put that genie back in the bottle, getting people to go and buy music.

We live in a streaming world…trying to increase the royalties…I hear where they’re coming from in terms of trying to increase the volume. Then if you increase the volume, more artists will get paid. I’m not sure I totally have an answer to that [laughs] question. That’s the million dollar question.

As a music lover, it used to be a lot of friction in buying your music. Internet for all its faults exposed me to a lot more music. A lot of your artists have become part of what I have acquired and I listen to often. Before that, one had to think twice before buying a CD. The internet has increased the size of your audience. There’s a lot more people who are aware of you, your group and your label worldwide, right?

It’s interesting you bring that up. One of the things that has happened through that…It’s not so much the awareness that has triggered it, but we’ve basically, essentially shut down the record label ESL.


We’re putting out Thievery records, but we’re not working with any more artists, because we’ve gotten to the situation where…Let’s put it this way. Back in the day, we knew any artists we signed, and put out the record, it would sell at least 5,000 copies. Right? You give artists an advance. There was some money to be made through selling CDs and through licensing, and touring.

Now, a lot of these artists…I don’t know if you saw that thing with David Lowery, from Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, where he talks about how, he had a million plays on either Spotify or Pandora, one of these streaming services. Basically, he earned less money than he would have made selling a t-shirt at one of his concerts.

Those are the kind of economics we’re dealing with. When you run a small independent label, at a certain point, it becomes like trying to squeeze a dry lemon. It’s a lot of work, and you’re not getting a lot of juice. In one way, it’s allowed people to learn more, about these different artists that we have on our label. Even when we were dealing when it was just, iTunes was the only thing on the block, it was a lot more beneficial and sustainable for artists.

Wow. I did not know that you had shut down, essentially, your record label, which is too bad, because you were the global sound, curator from my standpoint. Always had a lot, of interesting groups on your label. What a shame.

Yeah. It’s tough too, because these are your friends. You’re coming up to them, and they’re, “What did we earn this last six months?” Here’s the $100. Here’s the numbers to show it. You do that enough times and you’re like, “I don’t really want to be in this part of the business, because it’s kind of depressing.”

All photos courtesy of Thievery Corporation.

Categories: Video News

Audio engineering pioneer John Meyer: Stop chasing the next big thing, and go with FLAC instead

NewTeeVee - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 06:00

John Meyer may be making really expensive loudspeakers, but when it comes to high-end audio, the audio engineering pioneer prefers free. FLAC, the open source audio format developed by Grateful Dead fans to trade bootleg recordings, is “the perfect format” for music aficionados looking for higher-resolution audio, Meyer told me during a recent interview. And to him, any company pushing trying to make a buck with selling upsampled music is just out to sell snake oil. “It’s tricking people who don’t know enough about technology,” he said.

Ordinary music fans may never have heard of John Meyer, but chances are, he has helped them to enjoy music at one point or another. Speakers from Berkeley, California-based Meyer Sound, the company he co-founded with his wife in 1979, have powered tours from artists like Bob Dylan, Metallica, Herbie Hancock and Usher. They’re used for Cirque de Soleil shows, have helped address crowds of 800,000, power churches, concert venues, casinos and movie theaters around the world.

 Meyer Sound.

A Meyer Sound system on tour with Bassnectar. Image: Meyer Sound.

In professional audio engineering circles, Meyer is regarded as a pioneer, because he was one of the first to take the idea of linearity — meaning that the audio coming out of the speaker should sound exactly like the input, just more amplified — from studio monitors to concert venues and stadiums.

He also was an early proponent of self-powered speakers, which are basically speakers that already contain the amplifier and all related electronics. Most recently, Meyer has made waves with acoustic systems that can shape the sound of a room through a combination of microphones and loudspeakers, helping churches to adapt to a wide variety of performances and keeping the noise level in high-end restaurants at bay. In other words, he knows a thing or two about audio.

I recently got invited to visit the Meyer Sound production facility in Berkeley, where the company locally produces each and every part of their speakers in a slow process that ensures quality control from start to finish, and chatted a bit with Meyer about how technology has been changing his industry. Overall, Meyer was very optimistic about the impact of new technologies. But when I asked him how this shapes the way consumers get to experience sound, he struck a cautious note. “I’m worried that my generation has gotten too lost in the technology,” he told me.

That’s because Meyer sees a move towards two extremes. One the one side is highly compressed sound, which Meyer called elevator music, only to add: “There is nothing wrong with elevator music. It just shouldn’t be the diet that everyone has.” One the other hand is a trend to ever higher bit rates that resembles the megapixel wars in the digital camera space, with companies trying to push digital music towards a resolution of 192 kHz, often combined with proprietary formats.

 Meyer Sound.

Meyer Sound loudspeaker driver manufacturing in Berkeley, California. Image: Meyer Sound.

Meyer said that it simply “doesn’t make sense” to go higher than 96 kHz / 24 bit, which already is an order of magnitude better than standard CD audio. He also lamented that companies are trying to sell upsampled music — songs that were recorded with lower bitrates and resolutions, but are then altered to offer the appearance of a higher-resolution. “Using 24/96 is not the answer unless it is recorded in 24/96,” Meyer quipped, adding that people are getting wiser about snake oil claims, thanks largely to internet forums. “You can’t win those fights anymore, you can’t bamboozle the public,” he said.

Music companies and high-definition music vendors should instead embrace the open FLAC audio format, he suggested. “It’s well worked out, it’s geeky,” he said, adding that by his estimates, around 250,000 people are already downloading FLAC music files from the internet. He called on people in his industry to educate consumers about the value of something like FLAC. Instead, many would waste their time chasing new technologies. “I’m saying we should stop,” Meyer said.

Categories: Video News

Aereo’s CEO on the future of Netflix, TV sports and the public airwaves

NewTeeVee - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 05:43

In 2012, Chet Kanojia set out to take on TV’s goliaths with a slingshot full of tiny antennas, but he never imagined things would go so far so fast. Aereo, the start-up he created, is going before the Supreme Court on Tuesday to face off against ABC and the other big broadcasters in the most important TV case in decades.

Sitting in Aereo’s office in New York’s Soho district in early April, Kanojia looked more weary than when I first met him a year ago, but he still burns with the same quiet charisma and passion for creative technology. During that time, Aereo’s service, which lets subscribers watch and record over-the-air TV for $8/month, has expanded from New York to 10 more cities.

Recent media chatter has been about Aereo’s chances at the Supreme Court, but on this day our discussion was not about law. Instead, Kenojia shared some of his vision for TV, technology and the public airwaves. Here are some lightly-edited highlights from our conversation.

On Netflix and why HBO will be spun-off in 5 years

JJR: When this started you talked about a “smarter bundle” of channels. Has your view of the cable industry and TV evolved?

Chet Kanojia: My view has gotten stronger that a break in the current system is inevitable, irrespective if Aereo is around or not. Look at the current prices.  Any industry compounding at 7% is just unsustainable. A change is inevitable.

The right model will be if someone can put together broadcast access with either HBO or ESPN, then it’s game over. One of those pay channels has to go outside [the cable system] because if Netflix continues to do what they’re doing, then the virtuous cycle continues — they spend a little more on content to get more subscribers, and then they will start outspending all pay channels combined.

The only way to compete with that will be for HBO or Showtime to go out of bundle. The key to understand is that it’s not just a pure financial issue, it’s also a data issue. So for example, Netflix can make those bets because it knows what those consumers are doing or not doing.  When you’re a bundled network like HBO you have no idea what the consumer does — and the cable guys have zero incentive to give you that information. I would say HBO will be spun out in 5 years.

On the future of NFL and TV sports

JJR: The NFL and the other sports leagues are supporting the big broadcasters, who have threatened to remove their shows from over-the-air TV and become cable channels if Aereo wins the case. Will that actually happen?

Chet Kanojia: I don’t think they can do that. Just to put it in context, ESPN has Monday night football, and the performance is a fraction of what the broadcasters get.

It’s not going to be economically viable for them to go that way. Frankly, if they’re going to go that way, why wouldn’t the leagues do their own direct paid relationships? has been a template of where that’s going. I think a sports fan will be happy to pay $100 or $200 a year. The leagues don’t need a middle-man. If they don’t need a broadcast affiliate, they certainly don’t need a channel — they already have their own, like the NFL Network.

nfl sunday ticket

The FCC and selling the public airwaves

JJR: Let’s talk about the airwaves which, as you’ve pointed out, are a public good the broadcasters are using. What’s going to happen to all that spectrum in the future?

Chet Kanojia: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is demonstrating that they don’t need [all that spectrum], you can do frequency sharing and you can do channel sharing or all sorts of other things. The FCC has shown there’s an opportunity — while protecting the broadcasters’ statutory rights, while ensuring they can still be on the air. The FCC’s being extremely generous offering this idea of an incentive auction to sell part of their spectrum, rather than using eminent domain.

JJR: What do you think the airwaves should be used for instead?

Chet Kanojia: To the extent they can stitch together blocks, it should be unlicensed wireless. I don’t understand why our country has this model where we grant companies access in perpetuity to spectrum, which is a finite and very constrained resource.

If you look at anytime that there’s unlicensed use, it creates far more value. WiFi, Bluetooth, all of those things – the amount of overall investment and products that are made in that category far exceed. It should be unlicensed and, if there is a license it should be a term license.

If the FCC truly wants competition, it will be about granting internet access. And the way to do that is to create a big unlicensed block. This isn’t a criticism of the FCC, but no matter what money they raise in the spectrum auction, it will be peanuts compared to the value of the unlicensed side.

On Apple and home entertainment

JJR: Who do you think is doing the best job in the internet TV and home entertainment space?

Chet Kanojia: I love Netflix. The new interface is great, I just love the company. We’re all dying to see what happens with Apple. More and more I’m convinced that the idea of tablets, phones, computers all being projectors is ultimately the right model. And by projectors I don’t mean optical projectors but IP projectors.

I don’t know where things are on the music side, but everywhere in my house there is AirPlay capability. I love Sonos but the problem is that the Apple iTunes sync is just manual and that sucked. Apple’s keeping them out I suspect.

On innovation in a Comcast world

JJR: Take us a year from now. If Aereo wins, what will the company look like?

Chet Kanojia: We’ll be in 50 cities or so. We’ll start marketing effectively, and open our platform to new uses. We’ll provide our technology to small and medium sized cable guys — on the network and DVR and application side.

There’s a weird dynamic in the marketplace now. There’s no company stepping up to provide equipment in the video business — mainly because the cable guys have killed all suppliers, so no investor is going to finance a new company. The world that we’re heading for is one where whatever Comcast builds is what you can have.

photo-2 (1)

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Categories: Video News

Comcast and Time Warner in talks to sell subscribers to Charter News - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 22:00

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comScore Releases March 2014 U.S. Online Video Rankings News - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 22:00

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Online originals face battle to win over advertisers’ hearts News - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 22:00

Categories: Video News

Lucrative Stardom in China, Using a Webcam and a Voice News - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 22:00

Categories: Video News

MLB.TV Plays Ball With Google`s Chromecast News - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 22:00

Categories: Video News

Appeals court says blogs are not only media, they’re an important source of news and commentary

NewTeeVee - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 10:28

It would be nice if the debate over whether bloggers are journalists could be put to rest, more than a decade after it first began, and especially after bloggers like Glenn Greenwald have not only broken news stories but won Pulitzer Prizes for doing so. But it continues — especially when it comes to the protections that bloggers are entitled to and whether they should be the same as those given to professional journalists, as I have argued they should be.

A recent legal decision that helps support this idea was handed down in a Florida court case involving accusations of defamation. Under state law, anyone who wants to pursue a defamation case has to notify the media outlet in question five days before filing. But Christopher Comins argued he didn’t have to do so in the case of a blog post from university student Matthew VanVoorhis, because blogs aren’t a traditional form of media and therefore aren’t entitled to notice.

As Techdirt notes, Comins’s argument was thrown out by the original court, but he appealed. Now, an appeals court has upheld that decision — and in the course of doing so, the judges in question chose to provide some great commentary on the importance of blogging as a form of media. The decision says:

“The advent of the internet as a medium and the emergence of the blog as a means of free dissemination of news and public comment have been transformative… the impact of blogs has been so great that even terms traditionally well defined and understood in journalism are changing as journalists increasingly employ the tools and techniques of bloggers – and vice versa.”

Journalism is what you do, not what you are


The court went on to say that the term blog typically refers to a site operated by a single individual or a small group that has primarily an informational purpose, most commonly in an area of special interest, knowledge or expertise — and one which usually provides for public impact or feedback. Based on this, the decision states, “it appears clear that many blogs and bloggers will fall within the broad reach of media, and, if accused of defamatory statements, will qualify as a media defendant.” It continues:

“There are many outstanding blogs on particular topics, managed by persons of exceptional expertise, to whom we look for the most immediate information on recent developments and on whom we rely for informed explanations of the meaning of these developments.”

The court stopped short of saying that any blog or blogger would qualify for protection as a media outlet, but said that VanVoorhis’s blog definitely falls “within the ambit of the statute’s protection as an alternative medium of news and public comment.” As the trial lawyer representing VanVoorhis described it in a blog post about the judgement: “The essential point, which the appellate court agreed with, is that a journalist is not something you are, but is rather something that you do.”

This is the point that I and others have tried to make about attempts to protect journalists through “shield laws.” Such laws often try — of necessity — to define who qualifies as a journalist, and often resort to doing so based on whether they are paid, whether they work for specific media outlets, and so on.

Everyone is protected, not just journalists

Restricting protection to professional journalists is exactly what some judges and courts have also tried to do in certain cases, like the one involving Montana blogger Crystal Cox. The trial judge said she was not entitled to broader protection because she was not a journalist — but an appeals court ruled that this was incorrect, and it cited the Ninth Circuit’s commentary on whether the institutional press should have any more protection than the average citizen.

“The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story. As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable.”

Somewhat ironically — given these kinds of defenses of the contributions that blogging can make to journalism — one of the most prominent and authoritative blogs writing about the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, the SCOTUSblog, has been repeatedly denied a press pass to cover the court officially, because it is not considered to be a member of the media.

Post and photo thumbnails courtesy of Thinkstock / triloks

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Categories: Video News

Aereo Launches PR Blitz Ahead of April 22nd Supreme Court Hearing Analysis - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 08:57

Aereo has launched a PR blitz ahead of its April 22nd Supreme Court hearing, the centerpiece of which is a new advocacy site called "Protect My Antenna," which includes all of the court briefs, decisions and documents related to the Aereo case. The site also invites visitors to sign up for email updates. Presumably additional media, such as interviews with Aereo's founder and CEO Chet Kanojia will be added as well.

Chet has been interviewed by many media outlets in the past couple of years (including VideoNuze, here and here), but a new one appearing today as part of the PR campaign is with Yahoo News anchor Katie Couric (embedded below). As he has done in prior interviews, Chet adroitly positions the case as being about far more than Aereo itself, but rather about the legitimacy of cloud computing, the expense of today's pay-TV bundles, consumer choice and the importance of innovation.

Categories: Video News

LG releases open source Connect SDK, wants every TV to behave like Chromecast

NewTeeVee - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 07:45

Mobile app developers just got a bit of a break when it comes to bringing their content to the TV screen, courtesy of LG: The consumer electronics maker released an open source Connect SDK Thursday that helps developers cast media to a wide variety of connected devices, ranging from LG’s own TV sets to Google’s Chromecast adapter to Roku’s streaming boxes. Think of it as Chromecast, but for a wide variety of devices.

I got to see LG’s Connect SDK firsthand during a recent visit to the company’s Silicon Valley Innovation Lab, where I was led into a room filled with TVs. One was connected to a Roku box, another to Amazon’s new Fire TV. One was running LG’s own webOS TV platform, two featured the 2013 and 2012 flavors of LG’s smart TV development.

LG’s Connect SDK Product Lead Henry Levak proceeded to show off a custom-build demo app that launched a photo as well as a personal video on close to all of the screens, save for the Fire TV, which was added to the SDK at the last minute. He then launched a YouTube video on all devices. Okay, not just any YouTube video — I was rickrolled on six TVs simultaneously. Check out the video below for a similar demonstration:

Levak also demonstrated the ability to launch a web app for the music video service musiXmatch on a variety of screens, complete with the ability to switch to audio-only output on the Roku and other devices not capable of running full-blown web apps. And finally, Levak showed off how the Connect SDK works with Plex to play media on a variety of devices.

Plex already has implementations for Roku, Fire TV and Chromecast, but the app uses the Connect SDK as a way to bring its app to webOS TVs. Levak said that app makers can use the SDK to launch existing apps, or forward users to a connected TV app store and prompt them to download an app onto their Roku or connected TV.

How the Connect SDK works

LG’s Connect SDK can do all of this by combining all of the common multiscreen and home media sharing protocols, including Google’s Cast SDK, DLNA and DIAL. “It’s an abstraction layer,” said Levak, explaining that developers now have to include only one set of code in their apps, whereas they previously had to build custom implementations for each and every device.

The Connect SDK currently supports webOS, Roku, Chromecast, Fire TV and older LG smart TVs. LG wants to add support for Apple TV and Samsung devices soon.

The Connect SDK currently supports webOS, Roku, Chromecast, Fire TV and older LG smart TVs. LG wants to add support for Apple TV and Samsung devices soon.

So why would LG build technology that makes it easier for developers to interact with Roku boxes or Amazon’s Fire TV? The answer is simple: Because that’s what’s in our living rooms. “People don’t just use devices from one company,” Colin Zaho, LG director of product management, said. That’s why developers shouldn’t target just one device, or think in the framework of ecosystems that they need to target. “For the user, the ecosystem is what they have in their room,” added Ohad Ben-Yoseph, LG’s director of business development .

An unspoken benefit of these efforts is that developers also automatically target LG’s webOS TVs, something that might otherwise have been further down on their list, behind success stories like Chromecast and Roku. Next up for LG are integrations that will allow developers to target Apple TV and Samsung TVs, which should make the Connect SDK even more attractive.

Going open source to advance the industry

Of course, Apple has been very controlling about AirPlay, and Samsung has started to invest significant resources into its own multiscreen SDK. The question is: Will all of these vendors play ball, or are they going to try to shut out LG’s SDK? Levak couldn’t rule out the possibility that LG may run into issues with some of the vendors, but he was quick to add that the Connect SDK isn’t circumventing anyone else’s technologies. For example, it uses Google’s Cast SDK to control Chromecast; it just doesn’t force developers to implement Google Cast separately.

LG is also trying to ease concerns by open-sourcing the Connect SDK, and Zaho said that the company deliberately didn’t stamp its brand all over it. Instead, it wants others to collaborate and work on common standards that help to bridge the gap between individual devices. “We want to drive the whole industry forward,” he said.

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Categories: Video News

"Effectiveness" Identified As Next Stage of Digital Video Ad Measurement Analysis - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 06:54

TV is moving to digital - and fast. Today, billions of digital ads are seen everyday by millions of online viewers, yet 99% of those ads are repurposed from television and often measured by traditional TV metrics of reach or gross ratings points (GRP).  Not only is this inefficient, but it also only scratches the surface of measurement’s potential for digital video.  

Last week, our company hosted a panel discussion in New York City with top industry leaders and agency executives to discuss the evolution of measurement beyond the current standard of impressions and GRP. We agreed that using the same success metrics as TV measurement for digital video is insufficient and the true potential of what digital video can accomplish for brands will only be reached when we look at factors such as post-impression activity, increased website visitation, lead generation, and even offline sales. These metrics looked at the broader effectiveness of digital video ads beyond simply reach.

Some of the questions addressed by the panel included: is the industry ready to add more customized measurements what should they be? What challenges do they bring? How can we balance between the need for a standardized measurement unit and customization (the specific needs each brand advertiser)?

It was a great night and I wanted to share some of the key perspectives from the panelists during the discussion:

Categories: Video News

Netflix Gaining U.K. Market Share at Amazon Prime`s Expense News - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 22:00

Categories: Video News

Vishal Sood

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