Cable Show: CableLabs Kicks Tires on Ultra HD
CableLabs has launched a project to shoot its own 4K Ultra HD video — which has four times the resolution of today’s 1080p HD — to understand how cable operators will distribute content in the high-bandwidth format if or when Ultra HD TVs take off. “All indicators are that 4K will be coming to video-on-demand first,” said CableLabs president and CEO Phil McKinney. At the Cable Show, CableLabs showed 4K content playing on a Sony Ultra HD television. One segment was encoded in MPEG-4 at a variable bit rate of between 60 and 120 megabits per second, and another was in HEVC at 20 Mbps.
Cable Companies Redesign the Set-Top Box
At the 2013 Cable Show in Washington, D.C., three major U.S. cable companies unveiled completely redesigned viewing menus for their cable boxes in an attempt to keep customers away from streaming video services. Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Cox Communications each presented a new user interface for finding content designed to keep customers from having to “drill down” to find programming that appeals to them.
Opinions & Analysis
Trad Media Predicts Significant Rise in Digital Revenues
More than half of media and entertainment businesses’ revenues will come from digital services/platforms in the next two years. Ernst & Young says a survey of 550 senior executives — from broadcast, cable, technology, gaming, film, social media and publishing businesses — say 57% of their revenue will come from digital services and platforms by 2015. Right now, that number is 47%. Still, many still believe businesses are lacking in the tools to achieve their digital goals. The survey says 43% of all respondents cite “acquiring digital skills” as a top strategic priority for shifting to more digital businesses.
What Amazon’s Viacom Coup Means for Netflix
If there were any doubts that Amazon is a serious streaming-media competitor, they likely were erased June 4 when the company struck its largest licensing deal to date, gaining access to thousands of TV episodes from Viacom. Before then, some might have been dismissive of Amazon’s subscription service, which is not even a stand-alone offering but a free bonus for subscribers to Amazon Prime, the online retailer’s premium shipping service. Plus, when it comes to streaming TV shows, NPD Group says Amazon has about a 2 percent market share, compared with 10 percent for Hulu and 89 percent for Netflix.
Deals & Signings
Vodafone and Kable Deutschland Confirm Takeover Flirtation
Vodafone has just winked suggestively at German cable provider Kabel Deutschland, the two companies have confirmed. As both Vodafone and Kabel Deutschland said on Wednesday in near-identical statements, the British telecoms giant has made a preliminary approach regarding a possible takeover, but “there is no certainty that any offer will ultimately be made nor as to the terms on which any such offer might be made.” For Vodafone, the second-biggest cellular carrier in Germany, Kabel Deutschland might prove a handy way to step up its fight against Deutsche Telekom, the country’s leading carrier on both mobile and fixed-line fronts.
U.S. Mobile Video Audience Spikes to 45 Million
The U.S. mobile video audience in the first quarter reached 45.3 million, up from 36 million a year ago. That 25% gain made the mobile phone the fastest-growing platform by viewership in the last year, while audiences on traditional TV and desktop Web actually slipped, per Nielsen’s latest cross-platform report. The number of TV viewers fell slightly to 282.9 million from 283.3 million, while the PC-based video audience dropped from 162.5 million to 155.2 million. In terms of average time spent per user, however, TV and the Internet still far outpaced mobile. People spent five hours and 29 minutes a month watching video on a mobile phone, up from 5:01 a year ago.
Jason Calacanis Releases ‘YouTube Creators’ Bill of Rights’
After releasing a missive detailing his frustrations with YouTube over a week ago, Jason Calacanis has returned with solutions this time instead of vitriol. It’s a five-part system equally aimed at YouTube and the next company willing to disrupt YouTube’s stronghold on online video. All five points focus extensively on advertising and creators’ entitlement to their own dividends.
StyleHaul and Maybelline Bring “Recreate the Runway” Back to YouTube
“Recreate the Runway” returned for the second season yesterday, a product of a partnership between StyleHaul and Maybelline New York. The series features how-to advice on capturing the season’s hottest looks without the sky-high prices. The first episode is “Maybelline Recreate the Runway: Runway Remix,” and new episodes will be released every Monday. Episodes will feature links to the Maybelline products used and StyleHaul’s style breakdown on Facebook. The StyleHaul team — Kayleigh Noelle, Sun Kiss Alba, Makeup by Alli and Sccastaneda — star as both the models and the team explaining the looks.
YouTube Throws A Curve Ball By Becoming a Sports Broadcaster
Though it’s now easy to consume music, movies and television on the Internet, watching live sports online is still a fantasy for many fans. Even as other forms of entertainment have digitized rapidly in recent years, sports for the most part have remained carefully locked in the walled garden of cable subscriptions and expensive all-access digital passes. But a surprising new player in sports broadcasting may soon change that: YouTube.
Sports Business Daily http://bit.ly/1a1CxU0
Dailymotion Potentially Eyeing US Production Studio Expansion
It’s no secret — YouTube currently lays claim to over one billion monthly unique visitors — a number that justifies ownership of three in-house production studios, the newest of which is YouTube Space Tokyo. UK and LA production studios have been chugging along, and all signs point to a potential office in New York City, which we heard murmurs of earlier this year. But there’s another player following suit on physical expansion globally.
Streaming Video News
Jason Mewes-Starring ‘Vigilante Diaries’ Wants to Turn Fans Into Financiers
In what Chill has coined “episodic funding,” it has released the first two episodes of its new series “Vigilante Diaries” starring Jason Mewes and Paul Sloan. The show won’t release the next two episodes unless the first two episodes surpass a self-imposed funding goal of $50,000 in 30 days. If they reach their goal, Chill will greenlight production on the third and fourth episodes and pace the launch date another four weeks afterward. The project will only come to an end when fundraising goals (or fan support, if you like) cannot exceed the minimum.
Soon Your Netflix Recommendations Will Make Sense Again
Starting sometime in August, Netflix will roll out customized user accounts for subscribers to store their taste preferences and deliver better recommendations. It works like this: After loading Netflix, you select which account you are (there’s avatars!) and a profile pops up and recommendations unique to their viewing history. Then you can watch your stories in peace. Despite these advances, Netflix still won’t allow more than two simultaneous streams per account.
North Korean State TV Now Live-Streaming on Facebook
The world’s most isolated nation, North Korea extended its propaganda reach into the social media sphere this week, launching live streaming of selected programming on the official Facebook page of state broadcaster Korean Central Television. So far, the Korean Central Television (KCTV) Facebook page has attracted 1,500 “likes.”
South Korea, however, swiftly blocked the page this week. All broadcasts from the North are blocked in South Korea in accordance with “national security laws.” South Korean nationals are prohibited from accessing official North Korean websites from home turf.
Videos to Watch Now
“Corman’s Drive-In” Subscription Channel to Debut Full-Length , Classic Films on YouTube Thursday”
Academy Award winning director Roger Corman and his producer wife Julie Corman announced today that Corman’s Drive-In will launch on YouTube this Thursday. Previews for some of the coming videos are already up, but access to the 30 rotating movies and commentary from Corman himself will require a $3.99 monthly subscription fee. The original plan included releasing over 400 pictures at once, but closed captioning costs reduced the ever-changing Drive-In library to only 30 films at a time.
A Reality TV Show, Minus the TV
Hollywood producer Peter Chernin is betting it is the future of the entertainment industry. On June 17, Hollywood producer Peter Chernin’s Cherin Group takes its first step into distributing its own programming with “Summer Break,” a reality show of sorts that will exist exclusively on social-media sites like Twitter and Tumblr, and is intended to be viewed on the mobile devices that dominate the lives of its target audience. “Summer Break” will follow nine L.A.-area teenagers in the final days before most of them head off to college. But unlike traditional reality shows that complete shooting and are then edited into drama-fraught narratives, “Summer Break” will offer tweets, pictures and videos within minutes after cast members create them.