By The Numbers: Web Video Demand Accelerated in August

video chart up metueWeb enabled TV’s are becoming more common and eventually, they or some comparable TV to Internet bridge technology, will be the norm.  In the interim, though, consumers don’t seem to have any hesitation when it comes to satisfying their video cravings through today’s distribution platforms.

On September 28th, comScore Video Metrix released its measurements (release) detailing August viewing habits.

comscore august video tableFor the month, 161m US internet users watched online video.  Up from 158m viewers in July, the draw set the current (and sure to be broken) record for the all time high.

Click to Read More

Earnings Watch: Viacom and DreamWorks Animation

viacom earns graphicTuesday, Viacom delivered some good news. The company said its premium movie channel joint venture, Epix (developed jointly with Lionsgate and MGM), has signed a carrier deal with VerizonViacom also said it was “very pleased” with advance bidding (called “up fronts”) for commercial time on its cable properties in the upcoming TV season.  The ad sector, CEO Philippe Dauman suggested, is showing signs of recovery.  What was less positive, however, was Viacom’s performance in the quarter ended June 30th.

Adjusted earnings (earnings less severance charges of 3 cents per share) came in at 49 cents a share for the second quarter, the company reported.   Down 23% year over year, that was just good enough to beat analyst’s consensus expectations of 48 cents (Thomson Reuters) but revenue numbers missed. 

Analysts projected revenue of $3.5b.  Viacom totaled up $3.3b in revenue for Q2, a 14% drop over the same period last year.

Click to Read More

World of Warcraft the Movie?

Electronic Arts has an agent, movie project and deals with Steven Spielberg and Zack Snyder.  MTV Games is tied up with Jerry Bruckheimer.   James Cameron is working with Ubisoft.  Activision Blizzard now has Sam Raimi, well, sort of.  Activision announced Wednesday the Spiderman director signed on to produce and direct a film based on the company’s hugely popular World of Warcraft online fantasy games.

Raimi’s deal is not a game development deal like some of the other Hollywood heavies have, it’s a traditionally movie contract.  Still,  the agreement is another demonstration of the increasingly frequent crossover between film and interactive games.

Legendary Pictures, which produced Batman Begins, 300 and Watchmen, will co produce the movie along with Charles Roven’s Atlas Entertainment (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The International).

Click to Read More

Joost Revises Its Business Model

If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.  But if “Plan B” doesn’t work either? Then what? Do you call it a cautionary tale? Chalk it up to the nature of the game? Or do you try a new course yet again?  For the once high flying internet video startup, Joost, which has been spiraling toward trouble, it’s door number three.

On Tuesday, the company announced in a corporate blog that it will restructure its business model to incorporate a white-label service aimed at providing video distribution technology. (The video site will remain but no longer be the company’s singular focus).

Joost cited the economy as a key factor in its decision.  On the company blog, CEO Mike Volpi wrote that it had become “increasingly challenging to operate as an independent, ad-supported online video platform…. We have built a solid technology platform that there is demand for in the marketplace, and look forward to this new chapter for our company. At the same time, we’ll continue to operate and its associated video applications.”

While the challenges of earning a living off advertising had to figure into the calculus to shift focus, Joost’s problems run deeper and have been apparent for a long time. Simply put: the company’s service never matched up to the demands and behaviors of the consumer marketplace.  Timing, programming, and concept never fully came together.

Cycle back the calendar to May 2007 and Joost was a hot, hyped peer to peer video platform still in an invitation only beta.  The founders were coming off of huge success in the creation and sale of Skype. Click to Read More

Crowd Sourced Knowledge: Netflix Prize Won?

netflix prize awardLog in to Netflix and rate a movie you watched on a scale of one to five and Netflix’ computers will try to suggest other titles you’re likely to rank the same way.  This algorithmic pairing process has been marketed as a key differentiator between Netflix movie rental service and that of competitors.  It’s been touted as an achievement. 

For two and a half years, Netflix challenged the public to try and create a better mousetrap.   A million dollar prize was dangled as bait for the first person (or team) to create a program capable of beating Netflix’ Cinematch algorithm by a margin of ten percent or better.   Nobody succeeded.  Developers inched close but couldn’t quite hit the mark. Seven percent, eight percent, nine…but not ten.  The so called "Netflix Prize" went unclaimed. Until now, that is.

On Friday, a group created from a combination of four independent teams that had been vying for the prize submitted a solution that they claim resulted in a 10.05% improvement over Netflix’ Cinematch ranking algorithm.

Click to Read More

Hulu Offers Application Alternative

hulu labsGo back a few years ago and companies pushing net video streams out to proprietary applications were all the rage.  IP TV had the hype of a key convergence technology.  It was the next new thing. With companies like Joost there was massive venture funding, and talk about how their plans would change the face of TV distribution.

That didn’t happen. The buzz faded, staff left  and many of the companies that were yesterday’s darlings have faded from tech culture stardom (at least for now) like the backup singer to a one hit wonder.  Two notes hummed and forgotten.

The problem may have been timing, or programming, but it was also in no small part because the offerings required a change in consumer behavior.  They required applications downloaded to a desktop when consumers were used to (and comfortable) working within their web browser. 

It’s ironic given that, that today’s web video stars, companies like Hulu that have gained audience traction with browser-based video distribution are exploring stand alone players. Click to Read More

Real Networks Accuses Big Hollywood of Antitrust Violations

copyright crosshairs metueIt was a case of now you see it, now you don’t.  Last fall, Real Network’s then newly launched DVD copying software platform, RealDVD, went from controversial to contained in the blink of an eye.  Just days following the program’s launch, with litigation already filed by both sides,  U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel issued a temporary restraining order blocking all sales of the program pending a broader review of the software’s legality.  The program has yet to resurface and now the ongoing copyright litigation is poised to expand.

Designed to enable consumers to create digital to digital archival copies of DVDs, the program was intended to allow owners to store DVDs on a computer for viewing, or backup, without the need to have the disc in the drive.

Click to Read More

Page 2 of 4212345102030...Last »