Meet eyeVio…in Japan

The Hollywood Reporter is reporting Sony launched its own video sharing site in Japan on Friday.   The site, which is called eyeVio (meaning “one’s viewpoint”) is planned as a social environment for sharing user-generated content.

eyevio graphicThe site is something of a test-case for Sony.  It has functionality similar to YouTube, but more importantly for Sony (as the Sony graphic, which can be enlarged on a new page with a mouseclick, tries to indicate), it is designed to allow more seamless integration with Sony video devices (PSP’s, Camcorders etc), and may even allow integrated copyright monitoring or protection.   Under a similar guise of copyright protection, Sony may be offering the services to companies looking for a public outlet for some of their productions.

No advertising partners are currently signed up for the service.

The integration to Sony’s consumer products is a unique twist. Sony has shown in the past, that  it is willing to invest in a loss leader if it will drive product sales .  As investments go, this one is probably so trivial that it makes sense. (Recent gambles on the PS3 described here may not have been as shrewd)

If successful in Japan, an expanded version eyeVio may be rolled out in Europe or stateside.

Sun is Streaming

At the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, Sun Microsystems today unveiled a platform for offering digital video services through phone or cable lines.  The Service, called the Sun Streaming System was the brainchild and project of Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim.   Bechtolsheim began its development at a startup he was running called Kealia which was bought by Sun in 2004.  Bechtolsheim stayed on at Sun (which he had left in 1995) to continue working on the project. 

sun streaming serverOne of the challenges the Sun System is intended to address is scalability and the economics of IPTV systems which are typically expensive. A big reason for that is that there is zero-tolerance for packet (data) loss with streaming. To avoid latency spikes and other issues, most delivery platforms rely on distributed small-scale servers and lots of disk-based storage. Sun’s Streaming Switch architecture (which is further described in a white paper found here) is designed to allow the use of more powerful, centralized servers.

Sun is marketing the system for 5 areas:

  • Personalized Television Services over IP
  • Targeted Advertising
  • Time-shifted television (nPVR)
  • Video On Demand
  • Broadcast Television over IP

With heavy hopes and big dreams married to improvements in video streaming technologies and platforms, Sun is hoping (as are some potential telecom and cable companies, and IPTV startups) that the system will bring some much desired improvements.  If they do, it could even make Sun relevant again.

CastTV: Video Search Series A

User Generated Video content uploaded onto websites like YouTube often have a limited amount of meta-data that describes what is in the video.  The absence of that data makes archiving and searching the video content somewhat difficult.

Google, and Truveo (acquired by AOL in ’06) have created tools to try and work around this.    Startup,CastTV, which hopes to compete with a solution of its own, announced a $3.1m Series A financing round yesterday.

The CastTV approach, like Truveo and others, tries to compensate for the lack of meta-data by mining surrounding text content for context.  It also indexes any available tags. The technology then takes it’s combined data and searches the web for any additional data. The whole mix is put into their index and theoretically provides more accurate results.

The company is still in early development.  A private beta test is a few months off and a commercial release not do at least until mid summer based on current press.

Apple Q2 Earnings

Apple  (NASDAQ: AAPL), reported earnings making Q2 the most profitable second quarter in Apple’s history.

chart up stockThe Company had revenue of  $5.26 billion and net profit of $770 million, or $.87 per diluted share. That’s up from revenue of $4.36 billion and net quarterly profit of $410 million, or $.47 per diluted share, for the same period last year. Gross margins were 35.1 percent, up from 29.8 percent. International sales accounted for 43 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

During the period, Apple shipped 1,517,000 Macs and 10,549,000 iPods during the quarter. Those numbers represent 36% growth in Macs and 24% growth in iPods over same period last year. Steve Jobs noted that "the Mac is clearly gaining market share, with sales growing 36 percent — more than three times the industry growth rate."

More detailed press coverage of Apple’s finances can be found at:

Yahoo Finance
Google Finance

What’d She Sing? New Yahoo lyric service

Here we are now; contain us?” …or was Kurt Cobain singing “Here we are now, entertain us?”…hmm…

Ever wonder what the right words were to some song? Ever been positive the words were one thing, only to find out they were actually something else?   If so, you’re not alone.  Mishearing song lyrics is a common phenomenon.  It is so common, in fact, there’s a word for it: mondegreen.  There’s a website where you can submit your errors; or laugh at other misinterpretations (the site’s name is amusingly based on a misinterpretation of a Jimi Hendrix lyric).  There’s even a book of collected mondegreens (amusingly it’s titled after the same Jimi Hendrix misappropriation though there seems to be no relationship to the website).   Now, there’s also a way of finding out the definitive answer.

yahoo-gracenote-partnersYahoo and Emeryville, California based Gracenote, a music database and information company, announced a partnership today for the distribution of a music industry supported song lyrics database.   

Though lyrics are routinely among popular searches on the web (according to various Buzz indexes), this will mark the first lyrics catalog to be released under licensed approval from the music industry.  (There are a wealth of free lyrics sites, many of which contain mistakes, and many of which have been shutdown for unlicensed reproduction of copyrighted material).

Last summer Gracenote initiated the process when it secured the rights to the lyrics from the North American catalogs of BMG Music, Universal Music Publishing Group Click to Read More

Ticketmaster vs. Stubhub

In a ticket industry cluttered with primary and secondary sales, pre-sales and resales, market heavyweights are increasingly worried about protecting their territory.  In effort to reassert its dominance, IAC’s Ticketmaster filed several lawsuits during the past week.

Most notable  of the suits was a complaint filed against eBay’s Stubhub. It was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court last Wednesday. That complaint alleges that Stubhub, an auction reseller of tickets, has repeatedly interfered with contracts that typically grant Ticketmaster exclusive rights to sell tickets for events to the general public. 

The complaints specific focuse is on actions relating to the Rowdy Frynds Tour for which Stubhub has advertised that it would offer front-row seats via auction for  up to 100 seats in the first 10 rows for all 20 show dates.   

According to Ticketmaster, these seats should not have been available to Stubhub.  Stubhub used improper tactics to gain access to the seats which contractually should have been part of Ticketmaster’s inventory. Click to Read More

Life Magazine: a eulogy

Yesterday marked the last day of the print publication of Life Magazine.   The weekly photographic-centric magazine, which for decades refused to die, three times trying to re-invent itself to suit the times (1972, 1978 and 2004),  finally lost its battle with New Media.   It will live on in some form online.

In the early days of modern media when Print  was king, Radio an upcoming prince, and Television just a fledginling beacon, the image-centric, photograph-laden, magazine became an icon. 

Life Magazine was born in the great depression, the name bought from another publication by Time publisher Henry Luce for $92,000.  Life’s  first issue was launched November 23, 1936 and sold for a mere 10cents.  It was the first magazine of its era, of any era,  to give as much emphasis  to photojournalism as to print.  A small sample from  the long list of the notable names who contributed to the magazine and saw their work published on its pages and covers includes Norman Rockwell, Ernest Hemingway,  Mary Ellen Mark, Robert Capa, Gordon Parks, and Alfred Eisenstaedt.

Life Magazine CoversOver the decades Life published some of the most memorable images of the 20th century.; from the conflicts and struggles of war times, to the lifestyles of celebrities, to the achievements and failures of nations.  JFK, Vietnam, Korea, the Civil Rights movement, Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, landing on the moon.  

Photojournalism will forever owe the magazine a debt of gratitude for its influence and support in shaping their industry.   Perhaps the greatest demonstration of this influence dates back to 1944.  Robert Capa, one of the most famed war photographers of all time, landed on the beaches of Normandy for D-Day, side by side with the soldiers of the first wave  shooting images for Life and sending them home.  Capa was the only photographer there.  (In 1954, when Capa was killed by a landmine in Vietnam, he was again working for Life.) 

Click to Read More

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