Tag Archives: netflix

Internet TV Isn’t Ready to Replace Cable Yet

Internet-tv-isn-t-ready-to-replace-cable-yet-53445bec7e

Roku founder Anthony Wood runs a startup that, along with companies like Apple and Microsoft, sells hardware that’s bringing web video to home television screens. It’s no wonder his nine-year-old daughter prefers to watch her favorite Disney shows on Netflix at her whim, rather than surf Disney’s own 24-hour cable channel.

This is one example of how traditional TV service providers are losing their hold on America’s eyeballs. Internet-connected TVs are becoming the norm on store shelves, and today represent 12 percent of those in people’s homes, according to a recent survey by NPD Group. These TVs, and devices like Roku’s, make it easier for viewers to cut the cord on their expensive cable bills, and instead simply watch content provided by companies including Netflix, Hulu, Apple, Amazon and Google on their big home screens.

Yet Wood hasn’t canceled his family’s TV service, and neither have the majority of his customers. In fact, several factors may make “cord-cutting” slower than anticipated.

Wood cited statistics at the Next TV Summit, held recently in San Francisco, that about 35% of its three-million-plus Roku set-top box owners, with access to 600 free and paid content apps, wind up either ending or reducing their pay TV packages. But 10 percent were never cable or satellite subscribers in the first place. And there are still more than 100 million cable and satellite subscribers in the U.S.

As the Roku figures suggest, cord-cutting is happening, so far, on a relatively small scale. For example, Nielsen reported that the number of households that have only broadband Internet and free broadcast channels increased by 631,000 in 2011. Meanwhile, 1.5 million homes ended TV service from cable, satellite, or telecommunications providers that same year.

In other words, the massive wave of migration is not materializing as fast as many Internet companies might hope, or as fast as cable companies and networks may fear. “So far, it doesn’t seem like it’s the tipping point,” says Fox Networks distribution president Michael Hopkins.

One major reason is that most Internet platforms don’t yet provide crucial live content — such as news and sports — nor the original programming that draws viewers in (rather than reruns or held-back content).

That is starting to change, though, and it is likely that the cord-cutting trend will continue to gradually pick up steam. Netflix is now developing its own exclusive and original content. Meanwhile, Microsoft recently paid PBS to shoot 50 percent more hours of content of Sesame Street, which it then developed into an early example of “interactive” TV for Xbox Kinect.

And Google-owned YouTube, which has sports, news, and entertainment divisions just like a network broadcaster, not long ago invested $100 million to seed the creation of high-quality content intended for cable-like channels. So far it is pleased with the results — 20 channels averaging more than one million monthly views, and 25 with some 100,000 “subscribers,” according to Alex Carloss, YouTube’s head of entertainment.

The cable and satellite TV incumbents are, unsurprisingly, determined to retain their subscribers, and at the Next TV conference, some believed they will feel pressure to give customers more freedom to pick and choose which channels they want to access instead of paying for a large bundle.

In 2009, for example, TimeWarner and Comcast launched “TV Everywhere,” an authentication technology that is allowing them to make their shows easily available on any kind of screen to paying subscribers. Broadcast TV, too, is also aiming to offer access to live content on other devices.

Wood believes it won’t be long before an “incumbent” launches Internet-based versions of their cable packages. “A lot of this is about getting access to the content,” says Wood. “That’s a business that requires complicated negotiations, requires a lot of money, and I think, a lot of experience.” HBO recently launched a channel for the Web, HBO Go, but customers must be existing subscribers to HBO through a cable provider.

As more people stream TV content on their home screens, infrastructure limitations could become a factor. Will Law, Akamai Technologies’ principal architect in its media division, says if there were a sudden spike in TV streaming far above today’s levels, “there would be massive congestion collapse.”

Image courtesy of Flickr, joannapoe

This article originally published at MIT Technology Review
here

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/10/01/internet-tv-replace-cable/

Netflix Aside, Emmys Jury Honors 4 Interactive Digital Media Programs

Night-of-too-many-stars-emmys

LOS ANGELES — During the tape-delayed Primetime Creative Arts Emmys aired on Saturday, Netflix wasn’t the only web entity winning awards. A YouTube series and several TV networks’ digital media programs were honored for their achievements in multiplatform storytelling, interactivity, social TV experience as well as user experience and visual design.

Although the television academy has recognized interactive media in the past, it placed a bigger emphasis this year on the digital content and second-screen experiences from creators on platforms like YouTube or from major networks.

In addition to the four juried Emmy winners (below) in interactive categories, the Emmys added an Outstanding Interactive Program category, which ComedyCentral.com won for its Night of Too Many Stars: America Comes Together for Autism Programs. The special featured Katy Perry’s viral “Firework” duet (pictured, above) with a girl living with autism.

“More than ever before, television has become an interactive medium in which the audience has a role in driving the storytelling, participating as a fan and engaging in community and sponsorship activities,” Lori Schwartz, a governor on the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Interactive Media Peer Group, said in a statement earlier this month.

Here are the Outstanding Creative Achievement In Interactive Media winners:

Multiplatform Storytelling

Winner: Top Chef’s Last Chance Kitchen at BravoTV.com

“We are honored to be recognized for achievement in multiplatform storytelling,” Lisa Hsia, EVP of digital media at Bravo, told Mashable. “Top Chef’s Last Chance Kitchen was a wonderful confluence where great content met the desires of the fan and our partner Toyota. The digital series impacted the results of the on-air show. The second-screen participation and social conversation amplified it even further. Multiplatform storytelling turns our one-hour show into a seven-day-a-week experience.”

Jurors’ Comments:

Top Chef‘s award-winning linear series was expanded into a comprehensive digital “buffet” and tantalizing interactive experience for foodies with the companion Last Chance Kitchen series. This component, available on web and mobile platforms, Bravo’s Now app, VOD and EST, required active input from the viewing audience, which in turn influenced and impacted events on the linear series on. Each week, as Top Chef competitors were eliminated, they got a second chance to battle that week’s winner on this digital series. Fans interacted with the contestants and judges, and even got cooking themselves to determine which of the dismissed chefs would be the last one standing in the digital series and would have a chance to appear on the Top Chef finale. 52% of Top Chef‘s on-air audience engaged in Last Chance Kitchen and experienced the series in a collaborative way.

Recipients: Bravo Production Team, Magical Elves Production Team, Bravo Digital/Social Team and Bravo Creative Team

Social TV Experience

Winner: Oprah’s Lifeclass at Oprah.com/Lifeclass

Jurors’ Comments:

The award-winning series Oprah’s Lifeclass is a richly interactive, worldwide social experience for millions of students who participate in inspiring conversations with Oprah Winfrey on-air, online and via social media. For each class, Oprah is joined by a hand-picked expert, and together they interact with viewers to share principles and tools that can help people live more meaningful and fulfilling lives. Prior to the scheduled airing of Lifeclass on OWN, key influencers in the social sphere on that topic are given a sneak peek of the episode, and invited to participate in the Sunday night social dialogue. Lifeclass consistently ranks in the top ten “most social shows” in primetime, according to BlueFin Labs. After airing, the conversations continue throughout the social space and in a digital classroom at Oprah.com, where tools are provided to help viewers reach their own “Aha” Moments via an extensive companion curriculum, including class notes (thanks to Storify) and assessments, and Life Work questions that can be saved in their custom profile.

Recipient: OWN Digital

User Experience And Visual Design

Winner: The Nick App from Nickelodeon

Jurors’ Comments:

The Nick App is a branded experience that allows kids to watch and play Nick in unprecedented ways. This free App features a moveable tile layout that can be swiped in any direction, promoting discovery and exploration and offering kids instant and on-demand access to more than 1,000 pieces of Nickelodeon-themed content. It includes short-form videos of original skits, sketch and comedic bits, behind-the-scenes clips and photos from Nick stars and animated characters, full episodes, polls, new games, and surprising random hilarity. The Nick App supports the full Nickelodeon on-air line up as well as specials such as the annual Kids’ Choice Awards. The App boasts new content daily and includes fun and funny interactive elements such as the “Do Not Touch” button that triggers an array of disruptive comedy and surprises. Nickelodeon’s goal was to go beyond a typical app that offers free video viewing and instead offer more interactive content, games, and video not seen on television — whenever and wherever the user wants it.

Recipients: Nickelodeon Digital

Original Interactive Program

Winner: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries on YouTube from Pemberley Digital

Jurors’ Comments:

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is the award-winning, record-breaking, modern multiplatform adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” based around a fictional vlog kept by Lizzie Bennet, a 24-year-old grad student with an uncertain future, a mountain of debt and her best friend Charlotte behind the camera. When the LBD began in April of 2012 with two videos a week posted at Lizzie’s YouTube channel, there were only four characters appearing on screen. Unbeknownst to the audience, several other characters were conversing with each other over social media which kicked off a rapidly coruscating expansion of the LBD storyworld. Characters that only existed on Twitter soon began appearing on camera and even started their own channels, with one of them posting song recommendations and movie check-ins a full 10 months before they were to ever appear on camera. Throughout the entire process, the LBD characters used their social media presence to interact with the audience, creating an addictive world of engagement, while driving important plot points for the main video through their separate channels.

Recipients: Transmedia Producer Jay Bushman, Executive Producer Bernie Su and Transmedia Editor Alexandra Edwards

On Sunday, be sure to follow Mashable’s entertainment editor Brian Anthony Hernandez, who will be providing live coverage on Twitter (@BAHjournalist) and Instagram (BAHjournalist) from the Emmys red carpet and inside Nokia Theatre during the awards ceremony.

Netflix Acquires Award-Winning Documentary About 3D Printing

3d-printing

The 3D printing industry is the subject of documentary Print the Legend, which Netflix just acquired.
Image: Mashable

Netflix has acquired documentary Print the Legend, a film about the 3D printing industry, which earned special jury recognition at SXSW this year for editing and storytelling. It will debut on Netflix sometime in 2014.

The exclusive deal, which was announced Wednesday, comes two months after Netflix nabbed its first Oscar nomination with The Square, another documentary the streaming service acquired in November.

Print the Legend follows those who are involved with all facets of the 3D printing world, such as replicating human organs, creating guns and changing home manufacturing.

“It’s so rare for a film to capture history in the making, and [directors] Luis Lopez and Clay Tweel have done just that in their skillful presentation of the elation and betrayals experienced by young entrepreneurs detailing the groundbreaking technology of 3D printing,” Lisa Nishimura, Netflix’s vice president of original documentary and comedy, said in a statement.

Like with The Square, Print the Legend will be available to stream in every country Netflix is offered. This is an enormous launching pad, especially for a documentary. As The Square director Jehane Noujaim previously told Mashable: “That’s what’s exciting about releasing on Netflix as well because 47 countries at the same time can go online after seeing and have a discussion with people from very different circumstances.”

The film details how consumers can use 3D printing tools, looping in startups MakerBot and Formlabs as well as bigger companies Stratasys and 3D Systems to tell the story.

“This is a compelling glimpse into a game-changing technology as it nears an inflection point going from the fantasy world of a few obsessed visionaries to a must-have technology that may enter every home,” Nishimura added.

Netflix previously acquired The Short Game, which follows eight 7-year-old golfers on their journeys toward the World Championships of Junior Golf, in November. That film became Netflix’s first original documentary.

DreamWorks Movie Characters Will Inspire New Netflix Shows

Netflix-and-dreamworks

Netflix’s animation offerings continues to expand. On Monday, the video streaming service announced that characters from popular DreamWorks Animation movies — such as Shrek, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda — will inspire original Netflix shows.

The multi-year agreement with DreamWorks comes just months after Netflix inked new licensing deals with Turner Broadcasting and Warner Bros. to stream previous seasons of Cartoon Network and Adult Swim shows. Netflix also struck a deal with Disney at the end of last year to start offering new, first-run Disney films in 2016.

“This [Dreamworks] deal represents a major expansion of what’s already a phenomenal relationship, allowing us to bring beloved DreamWorks characters to the 40 countries where Netflix operates and setting the stage for us to innovate together as we expand into new markets,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, said in a statement.

Dubbed as the “largest deal for original first-run content in Netflix history,” the new deal includes more than 300 hours of new programming inspired by DreamWorks characters as well as some of the DreamWorks-acquired Classic Media characters. No specifics were provided, but the shows will include familiar faces from the Classic Media library such as Archie, Dudley Do-Right, Felix the Cat and Mr. Magoo, and titles like Where’s Waldo? and Voltron.

The first original series is expected to be available for streaming un 2014. For users in the United States and Latin America, Netflix will begin streaming DreamWorks’ feature films in 2014, starting with The Croods.

In February, Netflix and DreamWorks announced their first Netflix original series for kids based the animated movie Turbo (pictured above), which hits theaters July 17. The series, Turbo F.A.S.T., will continue the film’s plot in December.

Image courtesy of PRNewsFoto/Netflix

Read more: http://mashable.com/2013/06/17/neflix-dreamworks-shows/