Netflix Preannounces. Economy Pressuring?

chart downEntertainment industries are sometimes called recession proof.  When wallets tighten, retirement gets pushed back, or bills go unpaid, people will spend a little to escape fear and worry.  There’s a need for entertainment in tough times, the theory goes.   The reality is less forgiving: entertainment like anything else can fall victim to a weakening economy.  Entertainment industries are recession resistant not recession proof.   Glimpses of August data may be beginning to prove that point. 

Mirroring a surprise shortfall in August gaming sales, Netflix came out Monday with a surprise adjustment for their third and fourth quarter guidance.  A few weeks ahead of the actual earnings report (October 20th), the Los  Gatos company preannounced that third quarter revenue and EPS will fall within prior guidance but subscriber numbers will fall “just below” the low end of guidance.

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Netflix Adds Starz

nflx-starz.jpgIf content is king, Los Gatos based Netflix seems to be moving to try and grab some sort of throne for their subscription based on-demand video distribution service – and they’re not hesitating, even in spite of the prospect that widespread consumer adoption might be years away.  Last week, the company announced catalog boosting deals with CBS and Disney.  Today, they added more film and TV content for their streaming video service through a partnership with Liberty Entertainment’s Starz.

Per disclosed terms of the deal, approximately 2,500 programs from Starz library will be added to the “Watch Now” catalog of streaming titles.   As with other “Watch Now” content, the programs will be available at no added charge for all Netflix subscribers who pay for an unlimited monthly rental program.

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Legal Briefs: MPAA and Real Networks Battle Over DVD Copying

copyright realdvd suitsTuesday, the Motion Picture Association of America and Real Networks went at it head on, taking each other to court in separate lawsuits.  There may have been an effort at behind the scenes diplomacy but there was no shot across the bow, no public warning.  The fight came quick and fast with preemptive and counter strikes. 

The battleground is Real Networks newly released realDVD software, a software program designed to copy DVDs.  The question is whether it’s legal and how copyright law should be applied to its use.

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Sharing Video: Whole House DVR Service from AT&T

Like many American households, I have more than one Television; one in the living room and one in the bedroom.  Also like many houses, I only have one DVR.  That creates an occasional nuisance.  I can’t crawl into bed and watch a show saved in the other room.  In the bedroom, where there’s only a standard set top box,  I’m stuck watching only scheduled broadcasts despite the library of stored programs I’ve accumulated.  As problems go, it’s a small one. Still, there’s a yearning for locally networked cable boxes, appliances that will let me pick and choose which "time shifted" programs I want to watch regardless of which room I’m in.   For AT&T customer’s – there’s now a real solution that makes that possible.

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IPTV Redux: Joost to Reinvent in the Browser?

JOOST RESTARTIf at first you don’t succeed, reinvent and try again.   That’s a mantra known at many an Internet startup.  And according to a new report, it looks like it applies to IPTV startup, Joost.

A couple of years ago, peer to peer IPTV (Internet Protocol TV) was all the rage.  There were content partnerships and huge eight figure financing’s.  High profile execs and even talent agents were hired.  “It’s the next new thing.”  “The TV of the Future” the headlines seemed to read.  Unfortunately there were cracks in an otherwise pretty facade and they’re now starting to show.  

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Amazon Video On Demand: Now Serving

amazon vodIt was rumored in May, tested in a limited beta in July and now it’s here.  Thursday, Amazon officially opened the door to their new on demand video service.  It’s download free, straight through the pipes, streamed on demand; another Internet TV and movie distribution platform in an already crowded marketplace.

The not so creatively named Amazon Video on Demand is an evolution of Amazon’s prior generation Unbox video service.  Unlike Unbox, Amazon Video on Demand requires no software downloads to view the video streams.  Audiences can instantly watch widescreen format, stereo TV and movie content via the browser on their PC or Mac.  They can also watch the programming via their TV if they have the appropriate hardware extensions (or are able to connect a PC to a computer). Click to Read More

Paramount has Scene It, Buys Gamemaker Screenlife

paramount-gaming3.jpgThere’s a natural affinity between movies and video games, an overlap apparent in the convergence of story lines and visual techniques.  Like many studios, Paramount has seen this and recognizes the potential games bring for ancillary sales and cross media marketing.  In March, the Viacom owned movie studio formed a division within their interactive department to explore funding the development (and publication) of gaming titles.  In July, the studio partnered with Legacy Interactive to build Internet games around their Pretty in Pink, Clueless and Mean Girls films.   Now, Paramount has opened their checkbook to make their first gaming related purchase too.

Paramount has bought Washington based ScreenLife, the makers of a popular DVD trivia game called “Scene It.”  Click to Read More

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