By Rob Scott
April 17, 2011
Warner Brothers plans to release a new app by this summer code-named “Digital Everywhere.” The studio hopes the app will serve as the ultimate destination for purchasing all digital movies, not just those produced by Warner Bros. According to CNBC, “The way iTunes changed music, Warner Brothers wants to change movies.”
Digital Everywhere is not a retailer like iTunes. It gathers the many ways a consumer can rent or purchase movies and organizes an individual’s library of movie titles and TV programs. It then provides access to this library from any Internet-connected device through the cloud authentication system known as UltraViolet.
The app does much more than serve as a content aggregator — and intends to increase the value of a digital movie purchase by including features such as: trailers, clips, reviews, related articles, data from IMDb and Box Office Mojo, release schedules, recommendations and Facebook integration. CNBC reports that Digital Everywhere, “brings DVDs, the movies on a hard drive, digital films from iTunes, Netflix queues, and eventually digital Amazon purchases, into one easily-sortable library.”
If the Warner Bros. app delivers all that it promises, and movie fans respond to the cloud integration approach, we could be on the cusp of experiencing a significant change in how we access and manage our digital media.
By Rob Scott
April 10, 2011
Michael White took over the reigns of DirecTV the beginning of this year as the new president and CEO. During a recent three-day retreat with senior executives, White outlined the company’s strengths and weaknesses, and shared his vision for future growth, especially in regards to possible expansion in Latin America and reaching out to customers who use mobile devices. Investor’s Business Daily reports that DirecTV “is the world’s largest pay TV services provider with more than 28 million subscribers in the U.S. and Latin America.”
White emphasized that DirecTV is in excellent shape, but that an effective strategic plan would help steer the company into the future. His immediate focus is on recent deals with AT&T and Verizon that allow DirecTV to sell broadband services over fiber networks, the next phase of DirecTV’s recently launched free iPad application, and expanding the number of customers in Latin America (currently at 9 million).
“I was convinced that Latin America was still the best growth opportunity, and we should really expand more aggressively in Latin America,” White said. “In the U.S., we had a terrific core business, but we needed to address the ‘anytime, anywhere’ TV evolution and we needed some other revenue growth opportunities to help drive the top line while we were wrestling with higher programming costs.”
DirecTV’s first iPad app has some interesting features, yet is somewhat limited in its functionality for those truly on-the-go. It can serve as a remote control to change channels, browse channels without interrupting what’s on TV at the time, record to a DVR, and create a home screen with access to favorite channels. Users can use the app outside the home to schedule programs, but cannot currently use it to view programming. This may be the biggest obstacle for mobile device enthusiasts. White explains that phase two will enable users to import DVR content that has already been recorded to the iPad for remote viewing.
White says that DirecTV’s strategy to increase market share in Latin America involves a segmented approach by focusing on the quality of HD and DVR offerings — in addition to offering lower-priced packages, specifically targeting the middle-class who have so far been reluctant to take the plunge with paid services.
By Rob Scott
April 9, 2011
We recently reported on a number of new features and trends regarding media consumption via tablet PCs, especially since an onslaught of new iPad apps have been making headlines. One such potential trend may involve synchronized bonus content and interactive features related to live TV shows.
In February, Fox announced the availability of its free app for the series Bones, that enables access to a series of content add-ons while viewing the program live or via Fox.com, Hulu or DVR. Features include social media integration (users can comment with other fans and try to solve cases) and the ability to purchase songs played during the show from iTunes. The Fox launch follows the release of ABC’s iPad sync app for the hit drama series Grey’s Anatomy.
As content providers, perhaps we should be looking beyond complementary content for tablets, and consider what additional video approaches might leverage this growing platform. According to paidContent: “It’s interesting that so far the TV industry is treating tablets more as a sidecar for original programming on TV than a source of original content in its own right, as News Corp.‘s new The Daily is trying to do. Or perhaps sometime soon we’ll see a video-centric company try to evolve its product on the iPad the way News Corp. wants to do same for the news business.”
The paidContent article includes an interesting video promo for the free Grey’s Anatomy iPad app that features interactive components such as polls, quizzes, bonus content, and more.
By Rob Scott
March 6, 2011
Fans of Discovery Channel HD programming may be interested in the free Discovery app for the iPad (released March 2, 2011). Three days after the app’s release, its developer Bottle Rocket Apps announced that Discovery Channel HD was “the top free iPad app on the entire iTunes App Store.”
Features of the new app include chat sessions with show hosts and fans, images (including production stills), daily video clips, scheduling information, tune-in reminder alerts, science news, social interaction via Facebook and Twitter, and more.
The app is available at iTunes: Discovery Channel HD by Discovery Communications