Paramount to Test Shorter Release Window for Home Video

Paramount Studios is using two October releases to test a shorter window than the traditional 90-day window between theatrical release and home video. “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension,” which opens on October 23, and “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse,” which opens a week later, will go to home video about two weeks after their screen count falls below 300 locations. Paramount offered participating theater chains a percentage of digital revenue; AMC Entertainment and Canada’s Cineplex have signed on. Continue reading Paramount to Test Shorter Release Window for Home Video

NBCUniversal to Launch Ad-Free Streaming Comedy Channel

Comcast’s NBCUniversal plans to debut a Web-only subscription video service in January called Seeso that will offer comedic fare such as standup specials, original series, select movies, and NBC classics like “The Office” and “30 Rock” along with late-night hits including “Saturday Night Live” and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” The ad-free channel, which will cost $3.99 per month, will offer more than 20 exclusive original series during its first year. NBCU said it does not have plans to remove its content from other digital services such as Netflix, Hulu and YouTube. Continue reading NBCUniversal to Launch Ad-Free Streaming Comedy Channel

Top YouTube Stars Using Online Success to Launch Careers

Forbes has compiled its first-ever list of the world’s highest-paid YouTube stars. To appear in the ranking, Internet celebrities had to make at least $2.5 million in earnings for the year ending June 1, 2015. The top 13 DIY videomakers, most under the age of 30, have earned a combined total of $54.5 million. The group includes gamers, singers, comedy teams, pranksters, a beauty blogger and a dancing violinist. While most make their revenue from online advertising, some are also branching out into traditional media such as film, TV, music and publishing. Continue reading Top YouTube Stars Using Online Success to Launch Careers

SMPTE Webinar Details the Strengths and Challenges of HDR

FotoKem VP and principal color scientist Joseph Slomka led a SMPTE webinar yesterday on “Clarifying High Dynamic Range,” detailing his experiences in working with HDR productions. High dynamic range is “gaining traction in both the consumer and professional aspects of motion pictures,” notes SMPTE, but “there are differences of opinion even in its definition and ways to approach it.” Slomka described HDR’s impact on perception of resolution and depth as well as pitfalls in production, post production and display. Continue reading SMPTE Webinar Details the Strengths and Challenges of HDR

New Media Companies Lured to TV by Revenue Opportunities

New media companies that attracted an entire demographic away from traditional television are making a counterintuitive move by producing TV programs, often in partnership with networks and other Hollywood players. BuzzFeed, Vice Media and Huffington Post are among the companies now inking deals with HBO, A+E Networks, Comcast’s Universal Studios and Hearst Television. One big reason why is that new media purveyors have to meet expectations of sky-high valuations, and TV is a more predictable revenue stream than online video. Continue reading New Media Companies Lured to TV by Revenue Opportunities

WikiLeaks Releases IP Chapter of Trans-Pacific Partnership

WikiLeaks has released what it says is the complete intellectual property chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. With its release, some digital rights activists say their worst fears have been realized. They’re referring to one portion that says any of the 12 signatory countries can curtail legal proceedings to tamp down the public spread of embarrassing information, and a legal action from any signatory can force all signatories to block any online content/website rules to be infringing copyright. Continue reading WikiLeaks Releases IP Chapter of Trans-Pacific Partnership

Google’s Hologram Patent Opens Door for AR with Magic Leap

Google just received a patent, filed in March 2014, for using holograms in a head-mounted display such as Google Glass. In the months since the patent filing, Google has also led a $542 million funding round for Magic Leap, a Florida-based startup specializing in augmented reality, by which digital imagery is superimposed over the real world. But Google is mum on how — or if — it plans to marry the patent with its other technologies, most specifically Google Glass, and Magic Leap’s capabilities in AR. Continue reading Google’s Hologram Patent Opens Door for AR with Magic Leap

There is Untapped Potential in Enhanced Online Video Search

We are used to very sophisticated search for text, but when it comes to online video, search tools are quite primitive. Netflix allows users to search by titles, people and genres; Hulu powers search for titles and people; and HBO Now restricts search to titles. The potential for exquisitely granular search — and potential new revenue streams — can be found in each TV show or movie’s rich metadata. But how to unlock it, and how to structure search is still open to question and experimentation. Continue reading There is Untapped Potential in Enhanced Online Video Search

TiVo Introduces Bolt DVR, Ready for Ultra HD and Ad-Skipping

TiVo introduced its new Bolt DVR this week, with features that TiVo customers have requested for years. That includes a new SkipMode that improves the device’s ability to leap over commercials on recorded content, 4K Ultra HD capability, and, with a fall update, an iOS app that allows the creation of a customized “What to Watch” screen built by selecting categories based on hobbies and interests. The new TiVo also offers an iOS app with AirPlay so users can stream content to Apple TV, and the company says it’s working on an app for Amazon Fire TV. Continue reading TiVo Introduces Bolt DVR, Ready for Ultra HD and Ad-Skipping

Google Announces New Chromecast Devices for TV and Music

Google unveiled two new Chromecast streaming devices yesterday, in addition to a new tablet and a pair of Nexus phones. Google has already sold more than 20 million Chromecasts, which now offers access to thousands of apps, including HBO Now and Netflix. The $35 Chromecast extends the mobile apps already on our phones to our TV, whereas a competitor such as the $149 Apple TV is more a device for storing apps to run on television. One of Google’s new silver dollar-sized Chromecasts is available to work with your TV, while Chromecast Audio plugs into speakers to play music sent from your phone. Continue reading Google Announces New Chromecast Devices for TV and Music

Google Rumored to Debut New Chromecast Hardware, Apps

If rumors are true, on September 29, Google plans to release new Chromecast hardware and Spotify support as well as an updated app for the streaming device. The company will also introduce Chromecast Audio, a second Chromecast device — codenamed Hendrix — to Wi-Fi-enabled speakers in the home. The new device is distinct from Google Cast for Audio, a platform for making speakers and other audio hardware Chromecast-compatible. The new Chromecast app offers “What’s On,” which allows users to browse content on Chromecast-supported apps. Continue reading Google Rumored to Debut New Chromecast Hardware, Apps

Investment from Media Firms Brings Jaunt’s Funding to $100M

As interest in virtual reality heats up across industries, a number of international media players — including Disney, Sky, Axel Springer, ProSiebenSat.1 Media, China Media Capital and Evolution Media Partners (backed by TPG and Creative Artists Agency) — are investing $65 million in Palo Alto-based VR startup Jaunt. The investment follows other high-profile moves in immersive tech: Google joined venture funds in investing $542 million in Magic Leap last year, and Oculus VR raised $75 million before Facebook picked up the company for $2 billion. Continue reading Investment from Media Firms Brings Jaunt’s Funding to $100M

Streaming Services Send Hotel Room VOD to Chopping Block

As hotels in the U.S. continue to offer faster Internet connections, an increasing number of guests are more inclined to stream video content via popular services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu than opt for in-house video-on-demand. As a result, hotels are beginning to experience a significant decline in VOD use. Some have recently cut their adult-themed VOD content, and may eventually do the same with other on-demand offerings. However, this may not be the end of video-on-demand in hotels if providers make their services more competitive. Continue reading Streaming Services Send Hotel Room VOD to Chopping Block

Facial Monitoring Software Could Impact Your TV Experience

TV technology is getting closer to monitoring and analyzing our facial expressions in order to distinguish between boredom and enthusiasm to better understand our viewing tastes. Software from media startup Affectiva could usher in a new frontier in television viewing, one in which our devices watch our reactions and offer content suggestions or enable brands to provide more targeted ads. If consumers are willing to allow their emotional data to be gathered, movie and TV show recommendations from Netflix, for example, could become more relevant. Continue reading Facial Monitoring Software Could Impact Your TV Experience

Amazon Debuts New Tablets and TV Devices to Lure Shoppers

One year after the disappointing release of its Fire smartphone, Amazon is introducing a line of low-cost devices including a new tablet and smart TV plug-ins. The Seattle-based company debuted seven new products yesterday that are slated for release by this year’s holiday season. Among the announcements: a 7-inch Fire tablet with front- and rear-facing cameras that will run for less than $50, an updated $100 Fire TV set-top box that now supports 4K, and a Fire TV stick with voice-activated wand that turns your TV into a cloud-based personal assistant. Continue reading Amazon Debuts New Tablets and TV Devices to Lure Shoppers

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