What Online Video and TV Fans Can Expect from Microsoft’s Next Xbox
Microsoft is scheduled to take the wraps off its next Xbox at an event in Redmond, Wash. Tuesday, and the reveal of the new device is likely to not just get gaming fans excited: Game consoles have become the most popular devices to consume Netflix and other forms of online video in the living room, and Microsoft is expected to double down on TV viewing with the new device. Of course, Microsoft has kept mum on what it is going to announce, but there have been a few leaks and reports that give us a good idea on what the new Xbox is going to offer. The next Xbox is going to be based on an x86 processor likely made by AMD (for the specs lovers: there have been reports of an 8-core processor running at 1.6GHz CPU with 4MB of L2 cache), and a pretty powerful GPU to make those next-generation games look good. The device is also supposed to run a special version of Windows 8.
Spotify Charts Launch to Showcase Top 50 Songs Each Week, With Play-Counts Now Available For All Songs
Spotify has launched its very own charts, as it looks to showcase the top 50 songs by region. Spotify Charts constitute both the top 50 most listened to (the Spotify 50) and the top 50 most shared (the Social 50) songs on the music-streaming platform every week. Charts can be configured by each of the 28 territories Spotify is available in, from Australia through to the US, and you can scroll back to see the previous 4 weeks’ charts too. They’re updated every Monday at noon EST.
Deals & Signings
Media Storm Inks Ad Buying Deal With Videology
Media Storm, which specializes in representing entertainment entities, such as FX and Food Network, has signed a deal with online buying platform Videology that extends to mobile platforms. Under the arrangement, the agency gets exclusive access to a mobile addition to the TV Amplifier product for an undisclosed amount of time. “It allows us to tap into the second-screen environment that’s happening today,” said Andrea Redniss, Media Storm’s chief activation officer. The agency is expected to use the tool, which can supplement TV buys with digital video, in conjunction with its planning and buying efforts in the upfront market covering multi platform inventory. TV Amplifier allows marketers opportunities to use Nielsen TV and online data for targeting efforts.
YouTube Comedy Week
The “BLCS” (it’s a very long name for a show, okay?) focused primarily on live comedy, both musical and stand-up, over pre-taped bits, opening with Silverman and Rogen exploring the limits of what you can get away with in web video. While the energy in the room was low (possibly because the audience was not yet full) the opening was a great way to set up the fact that f-bombs and their like were in play, and the comedians invited represented an impressive mix of web video’s more edgy entertainers. From the cheap seats, it was fun watching the stage crew scramble to clean up after each act — debris included candy, glass, pool cues and lobsters, because as the opening sequence established, there really were no limits to the show.
Digital Music News
Deezer Launches Xbox 360 App for its On-Demand Music Streaming Service to Combat Xbox Music
It’s less than 24 hours until we find out what Microsoft’s next video game console is, but that doesn’t mean the Xbox 360 has been relegated to the scrap-heap. On-demand music streaming service Deezer announced its first app for the system today, giving users a new way to discover and listen to music. The interface will feel familiar to anyone that has used the current iteration of the Xbox Music or Last.fm app. The main interface uses a large menu bar along the top of the screen, denoting the usual key sections such as Search, My Music and Radio. A mini-player sits at the very bottom, displaying the artist and track name, running time and cover art, alongside four colored buttons that convey the functionality of the traditional Xbox 360 controller.
The NextWeb http://tnw.co/10illCL
Streaming Video News
Blossoming VOD Service Viewster Adds BBC’s ‘Skins,’ Starz and Shine Programming
Viewster, a streaming video service that reaches close to 30 million viewers a month, has acquired the rights to popular BBC shows such as “Skins” as well as shows from Starz and the Shine Group. The free, ad-based service has added 240 hours of content for different territories in this latest deal, partnering with ALL3Media (“Skins”) in the US, France and Australia and popular Korean shows for viewers in the US. For its international viewers, Viewster has also added several shows from Starz, including “Head Case” starring Andy Dick and Jeff Goldblum, and from Shine, such as BBC hit “Mayday,” starring Lesley Manville. Viewster is one of the most popular streaming services in Europe, particularly in UK, where it reached almost 4 million people in February, according to ComScore. It also reaches more than eight million people in the US, more than Sony’s Crackle but far less than sites like Hulu or Netflix.
Videos to Watch Now
NY Television Festival and MSN Launch Micro-Web Series Competition
As a part of Internet Week New York, Terence Gray, the founder of the New York Television Festival, will be moderating a discussion titled “90 Seconds or Less: The Power of Short-Form Content on the Web” at 5:30 pm today on the 92YTribeca main stage. Panelists will include a number of online heavyweights such as Mark Malkoff, star of My Damn Channel and MSN’s “The Mark Malkoff Challenge”; Rob Barnett, the founder and CEO of My Damn Channel; Mark Espinosa, senior content publisher for MSN Video & Entertainment; and Summer Strauch, two-time Emmy Award winning producer and filmmaker, and will focus primarily on delivering large stories in an extremely small package. The discussion dovetails nicely with the news of NYTVF’s partnership with MSN to launch a “Short-Form Storytellers Challenge.” The competition, the first global one from the NYTVF, will allow filmmakers to submit story concepts for micro-web series (no episode runs longer than two minutes). Per the announcement, submissions require two completed videos and a full-season treatment, as well as the creators being free of contractual obligations to any other production engagements.
Smosh Video for Sun Drop Soda Racks up 2 Million Views
To drive its marketing campaign home, Sun Drop has tapped into hugely popular YouTube duo Smosh to make a video that highlights other things that are, well, surprisingly good. So far, the video, titled “Good vs. Surprisingly Good” already has 2.3 million views on YouTube after only 5 days.
Deborah Turness Named President of NBC News
Deborah Turness has been named president of NBC News. Turness joins the network from ITV News where she served as editor for nine years. The British journalist’s appointment has been something of an open secret in media circles in recent weeks. “I am hugely excited by the opportunities that lie ahead and look forward to working with the talented journalists and technicians who make it one of the great global news operations,” Turness said in a statement. She will become the first woman to head NBC’s news operations, but her groundbreaking appointment comes at a difficult time for the division.
TV vs Digital
Digital TV Video Bizis Booming
As traditional TV platforms project small gains in their $70 billion business, new digital TV video businesses are looking at major hikes in the coming years to a smaller $4billion business — with cost per thousands seeing, at best, modest hikes. According to eMarketer, digital video platforms will rise to some $4.14 billion by the end of this year, up from $2.93 billionin 2012. In three years, the new report says, the business will double to $8.04 billion. The report looks at digital video advertising from impressions in in-banner, in stream, pre-roll, overlays, and in-text formats. Video ad formats vary widely, according to eMarketer, with offerings that are rarely uniform. Digital video cost per thousands — at least from premium video sites — will rival those of traditional TV platforms. Traditional broadcast TV networks are around $35 CPMs for key 18–49 viewers, according to industry estimates.
Pay TV is Hurting, And Even Skeptics Now Admit Cord Cutting Could Be At Fault
Pay TV had a really bad first quarter this year, with cable companies losing an estimated 263,735 subscribers from New Year’s Day to the end of March, according to the Leichtman Research Group. Satellite TV providers and phone companies with a TV business gained some subscribers during the same time period, but fewer than in previous first quarters, and one of the culprits seems to be cord cutting. A bad first quarter is notable for the industry because that’s when it is usually the strongest. The industry added an estimated 445,000 subscribers in Q1 of 2012, and 470,000 in Q1 of 2011. But even with additions from satellite and phone companies, this year’s first quarter was only up around 194,000 — not enough to make up for previous-quarter losses.
TiVo Losing Less Money Than Predicted
TiVo reported a net loss of $10.3 million in its fiscal third quarter on service and technology revenue of $61.8 million, beating the expectations of analysts on the bottomline, though not on the top line. Overall, revenue rose to $82.6 million in the quarter from $67.8 million a year ago. The company also added 277,000 subscribers through its worldwide partnerships with multi systems operators, primarily Virgin Media. It’s the biggest MSO addition in seven years for TiVo, the pioneer of the DVR. “We are continuing to see impressive subscription growth,” said TiVo CEO Tom Rogers. “Our MSO subscription additions underscore that the TiVo offering is helping operators acquire customers, reduce churn and improve revenue per subscriber.”
Showing Hollywood the Way: How ‘ Upstream Color’ Hit iTunes Without Leaving Theaters
Two weeks ago, Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color pulled off an interesting trick. After about a month in theaters, it went online, streaming from the movie’s website and plugging into the larger markets at iTunes and Amazon Instant Video. Here’s the interesting part: it never left theaters. If I wanted to watch the movie right now, I could stream it onto my laptop here, or I could walk down to my local arthouse theater and see it on the big screen. As long as Upstream is available digitally, Carruth can be sure it’ll never go out of print, a guarantee Hollywood can rarely make. “The two movies I’ve made, whatever they are, they are not disposable.
Okay, Marissa Mayer, Here’s How to Not Screw Up Tumblr
To assure shareholders she will not screw up Tumblr, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said several times yesterday that Yahoo will let “Tumblr be Tumblr,” and allow it to run as a separate company. She says Yahoo is following a precedent established in part by Google, which bought YouTube for $1.6 billion in 2006, and then left it alone.
Business Insider http://read.bi/118nfdW
NYC Startup Scene Boosted By 50-Fold Return on Tumblr
Tumblr Inc.’s $1.1 billion purchase by Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) marks the biggest deal for a venture-backed New York startup, bringing a windfall for East Coast investors Union Square Ventures and Spark Capital while laying a foundation for further investing in the region’s entrepreneurs.
5 Q’s With Believe Entertainment Group
VideoInk spoke with the Believe Entertainment team on the company and their outlook on the online video industry.