Netflix Competitor Amazon Nabs Exclusive Deal with Viacom

Viacom and Amazon announced a multiyear deal earlier this week that will provide Amazon with exclusive rights to Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. shows aimed at children and preschoolers. The agreement, estimated to be worth several hundred million dollars, also includes content from Viacom networks MTV and Comedy Central. The deal with Amazon was inked after Netflix and Viacom failed to renew their licensing agreement. Continue reading Netflix Competitor Amazon Nabs Exclusive Deal with Viacom

Shuffler.fm Launches New Online Music Video Channels

Online music startup Shuffler.fm is expanding with the launch of its own online music video service. ShufflerTV curates popular videos from leading online music magazines and blogs to provide users with continuous streaming music videos via individual stations. The new system also allows users to skip songs, preview what’s next on their playlists, subscribe to stations, and share favorites through social media including Facebook and Twitter. Continue reading Shuffler.fm Launches New Online Music Video Channels

Twitter Pursuing Deals to Host Television Content and Ads

Twitter is reportedly close to reaching partnerships with TV networks that would bring video content and advertising to the social site. Talks are underway with Viacom, Comcast and NBCUniversal, say sources, who note that the deal with Viacom would allow the micro-blogger to host TV clips on its site and sell ads alongside them. The push for TV coincides with Twitter’s expansion into music discovery and sharing with its new mobile app. Continue reading Twitter Pursuing Deals to Host Television Content and Ads

Digital Disruption Could Create New Opportunities for Video

The video entertainment business is facing disruption as online services such as Netflix, Hulu and YouTube continue to shape media consumption. What if the unavoidable disruption isn’t actually the worst thing for the industry? Some see digital disruption to mean a complete replacement of traditional models, while others see an array of opportunities made possible by expansion of the video business. Continue reading Digital Disruption Could Create New Opportunities for Video

Vevo TV Streaming Music Platform is All About Devices

With the launch of Vevo TV — a 24-hour live stream of curated programming — Vevo has taken an additional step toward becoming a full-fledged music television network. The new channel uses MTV-like VJs and is available on the Web and mobile devices, as well as via Roku boxes and Xbox 360 gaming consoles. Looking ahead, the company hopes to take Vevo TV to cable distributors and have it compete with the likes of MTV and VH1. Continue reading Vevo TV Streaming Music Platform is All About Devices

iHeartRadio App to Feature Intelligent Playlists: Will it Take on Pandora?

  • An upgraded iHeartRadio will be released by Clear Channel in a few weeks, to be kickstarted by a two-day music festival in Las Vegas.
  • The service is Clear Channel’s answer to Pandora, which now has more than 100 million users.
  • A key feature of the new iHeartRadio app will be playlist creation based on an “intelligence platform” from Echo Nest that will reportedly incorporate 5 billion pieces of information collected from 15,000 music blogs.
  • According to Echo Nest CEO Jim Lucchese, his company has processed 30 million songs in the past 12 months, while Pandora has categorized 800,000 tracks in the past 10 years.
  • “Echo Nest provides similar technology to MTV, The BBC, MOG and Rhapsody,” reports Radio Ink.

Shazam for TV Offers Fans Access to Exclusive Media Content

  • Shazam, an application that recognizes audio content, tags and shares it on social networking sites, has raised $32 million in an effort to expand integration with TV.
  • The company is currently working with Syfy, Bravo, Oxygen and Spike TV to allow viewers to tag and unlock content.
  • Shazam recently helped promote Lil Wayne’s new music video, which is currently at 4 million views.
  • During the MTV Video Music Awards, Bing ran ads that Shazam could recognize and brought users exclusive content related to the show.
  • It is also said to do the same for ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” promos, allowing viewers to access new content such as music videos and exclusive scenes as the season progresses.
  • The app is already a big driver of iTunes downloads. Shazam PR manager Rica Squires said that there are “over 4 million tags each and every day that result in 300,000 song downloads across iTunes and other vendors.”

Social Media: MTV Video Music Awards Scores Highest-Ever Audience

  • Despite having no host on Sunday, MTV’s 2011 Video Music Awards ramped up audience engagement through social media.
  • MTV delivered pictures and videos to their audience in realtime through their second screen application and social media channels.
  • Fans could track what celebrities were tweeting about, and who was tweeting the most. The application also showed which celebrities and content generated the most buzz. (Celebrities who did not tweet during the event could have missed out in a big way.)
  • The awards program scored its highest-ever ratings, pulling in 12.4 million viewers. “Not only was this year’s show the most-watched in the history of the Video Music Awards’ 27-year history,” reports Rolling Stone, “but it was also the highest-rated telecast in the 30-year history of the network.”

Flingo Sync Apps Provide the TV That Watches You

  • Flingo, a new San Francisco-based startup, says its technology can watch what you are viewing on TV and with your permission present you with relevant Web content.
  • “Any mobile app or Web page being used in front of your TV can ask our servers what is on right now,” says David Harrison, cofounder and CTO of Flingo. “For example, you could go to Google or IMDb and the page would already know what’s on the screen. Retailers like Amazon or Walmart might want to show you things to buy related to a show, like DVDs, or what people are wearing in it.”
  • Additionally, social sites such as Facebook or Twitter would be able to connect viewers to a TV show’s official page or stream.
  • A major TV manufacturer will build Flingo’s Sync Apps into their TVs, which will reportedly retail for less than $500.
  • Flingo has relationships with CBS, Fox and MTV.

30 Years of MTV: Impact of Technology and its Multi-Platform Future

  • Yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of the cable network MTV, which debuted at 12:01 a.m. on August 1, 1981.
  • MTV launched modestly, originally accessible to a few thousand subscribers of a New Jersey cable system. Today, it is more of a lifestyle brand than a cable network, and reaches hundreds of millions of households worldwide.
  • The first music video aired on the new network was “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles. Mashable reports: “The words were true. Almost overnight, the music video became one of the most important promotional and marketing vehicles for the music industry. Artists that best utilized the new format — Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince and Weird Al Yankovic — became not just stars, but icons. In short, video really did kill the radio star.”
  • Now the question has become, Did YouTube Kill the Music Video Channel? Mashable spoke to Shannon Connolly, VP of digital music strategy at MTV, about the evolution of the network and the impact that digital technologies have had on MTV. Connolly suggests that MTV has grown beyond the role of a music video jukebox to a new core competency involving curation.
  • Connolly added that the future of MTV is about creating multi-platform music experiences: “Everything is multi-platform. Every app, every partnership, we think ‘How is this going to extend from the tablet to the mobile to the connected TV.'”
  • The Mashable post includes a selection of videos that aired on MTV the day of its premiere.

Interactive Film: Reinventing the Traditional Music Video

The era of digital music distribution and a shift toward reality TV airing on pioneer networks such as MTV has left the traditional model for music videos in limbo. There is no longer a standard approach to production, budgets, distribution or, for that matter, a clearcut means of generating an audience or revenue.

Today’s music videos may need a new name — and perhaps even a new genre to call home. Innovative artists are leveraging a host of Internet-enabled technologies to break barriers regarding what is possible in short-form visual storytelling. One of the more interesting approaches is taking shape in the form of user control with help from interactive technologies sponsored by Google, Intel and others.

In The Wall Street Journal this week, John Jurgensen provides a fascinating snapshot of the last 30 years of music videos and what has led to this change, citing compelling new approaches from directors such as Spike Jonze and Chris Milk. Jurgensen describes several new approaches to what is being called (for the time being, anyway) “interactive films” — including a new Devo video that enables a 360-degree view of various scenes, a director’s chair feature for newcomer Andy Grammer’s video that allows viewers to select scenes, and a video for Swedish pop artist Robyn that copies fans’ tweets and integrates them into a 3D animated collage.

One of the more notable recent examples is The Wilderness Downtown, directed by Chris Milk and set to the Arcade Fire song “We Used to Wait.” Viewers can enter their home addresses, and by using Google’s maps and street visuals, they essentially personalize the experience with “virtual fly-overs” of their childhood homes (for Google, it has become a way of showcasing new functionality of its Chrome browser). Milk has reportedly been working for five months on another secret project funded by Google that puts control of the content in the hands of viewers. It is expected to debut next week.

The article also points out an interesting shift in distribution (and generating ad revenue):

Three out of four major music companies now channel their videos through Vevo, an online video player and distributor launched in late 2009. After years of licensing their videos to sites all over the Web — and seeing measly financial returns — the labels now rely on Vevo to distribute their videos online and sell ads against them. By focusing on slick presentation and sponsored video premieres, the company has pushed ad rates higher. Vevo, whose traffic includes the videos it funnels into sites such as YouTube and Facebook, is the biggest music provider on the Web, attracting 54 million unique viewers last March, up from 37.5 million in the same month last year, according to ComScore Video Metrix.

According to WSJ, the labels are starting to see financial results from the Vevo model, albeit relatively small. For example, a label whose videos accrue 10 million streams via the online player could collect approximately $70,000.

Identifying the next generation of short form video and its audience’s expectations — whether or not in the form of online interactivity — may become vital to new content production and distribution. As consumers continue to adopt tablet PCs and more dynamic media, this may prove to impact more than just music.

Related: Click here to view Chris Milk’s interactive film “The Wilderness Downtown.”

Related: Click here to view another interactive experiment from Milk, “The Johnny Cash Project.”

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