2013 NAB Show: Startups Invited to SPROCKIT Program

NAB announced that next month’s show in Las Vegas will feature 10 up-and-coming media and entertainment companies invited to participate in the new SPROCKIT program. Selected for their innovative video, mobile, social and analytics technologies, the market-ready startups participating in the program are expected to provide a glimpse into the future of content creation, management and delivery. Continue reading 2013 NAB Show: Startups Invited to SPROCKIT Program

Twitter Offers Video Highlight Clips During March Madness

With March Madness underway, many sports fans will be using social media to read and share updates about their favorite college basketball teams. To enhance the social and second screen experience this year, Twitter has joined forces with Turner Broadcasting and startup SnappyTV to provide instant 15-second replay videos of popular game highlights through Twitter’s news feed. The move will also create new opportunities for advertising revenue. Continue reading Twitter Offers Video Highlight Clips During March Madness

FOX Sports 1 to Launch in August: All-Sports Cable Network

Media magnate Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp., has plans to take on ESPN with a new national cable sports network. FOX Sports 1 is expected to launch in August in the United States, with plans to broadcast football, motor sports, baseball and much more. Murdoch hopes that the all-sports network will be as successful in the U.S. as Sky Sports has proven in the United Kingdom. Continue reading FOX Sports 1 to Launch in August: All-Sports Cable Network

NASCAR Crash and YouTube Vids Raise Copyright Questions

After a crash and flying debris injured at least 28 fans at a Daytona NASCAR race over the weekend, NASCAR’s video copyright policy came into question. NASCAR claims to own any “images, sounds and data” from NASCAR events. Fans began posting videos of the crash to YouTube, but NASCAR, claiming to own the videos, had the videos removed. But later in the day YouTube reinstated some videos after ruling NASCAR did not have the right to remove the videos. Continue reading NASCAR Crash and YouTube Vids Raise Copyright Questions

BSkyB to Offer Sky Sports Access on Per Day Basis Online

UK pay TV company BSkyB will begin offering its Sky Sports content on a per-day basis for people interested in watching a particular event, or in sampling programming on Sky Sports. Customers can pay £9.99 ($15.80) for 24 hours of Sky Sports coverage. “This will mark the first time that consumers will be able to watch BSkyB’s premium sports content on a pay-as-you go basis without a pay TV subscription,” notes The Hollywood Reporter. Continue reading BSkyB to Offer Sky Sports Access on Per Day Basis Online

CES 2013: GoPro Displays Latest Action Sports Camera (VIDEO)

Action sports camera manufacturer GoPro had a significantly larger presence at CES this year than they have had in the past, and they used that space to display their latest camera, the Hero3. Available in three different versions, the Hero3 is a significant upgrade from previous GoPro cameras, and offers a number of technical features that are clearly targeted at making it into a camera that is capable of delivering broadcast-quality footage. Continue reading CES 2013: GoPro Displays Latest Action Sports Camera (VIDEO)

CBS Plans Week-Long Super Bowl Programming Across Platforms

  • In an effort to fully leverage the biggest ratings generator of the year, CBS plans to launch nearly a week’s worth of Super Bowl XLVII programming leading up to the February 3 game in New Orleans.
  • Multiplatform coverage and 15 different shows are planned across CBS News, CBS Sports Network, Showtime, syndication, daytime and late-night.
  • “If you have the biggest event on television, it’s important to maximize that value, not just for the sports division but for the rest of corporation as well,” says Sean McManus, chairman of CBS Sports.
  • “‘CBS This Morning’ will broadcast from New Orleans Thursday through Saturday,” notes The Hollywood Reporter. “‘The CBS Evening News’ with Scott Pelley and ‘CBS Evening News Saturday’ will broadcast from Jackson Square Friday and Saturday.”
  • Additionally, Super Bowl-related programming is planned for shows including “Face the Nation,” “The Talk,” “The Late Late Show,” “Inside the NFL,” “Lead Off,” “Rome” and others.
  • While McManus explained the push will be expensive, “he was quick to point out that CBS will make money on the game — which is nearly sold out of ad inventory at an average cost of $3.8 million for a 30-second spot — up from $3.5 million last year,” reports THR.
  • The Super Bowl has set new ratings records each of the last three years (last year drew more than 111 million viewers). “Of the five most-watched telecasts in TV history, four are Super Bowls,” according to the article.

Yahoo Teams with NBC Sports for Sharing Content, Cross-Promotion

  • Yahoo has deals with CNBC and ABC in order to expand the reach of its news content to millions of viewers. The company recently announced a similar agreement with NBC Sports, which is the first such initiative under the new CEO Marissa Mayer.
  • Yahoo and NBC Sports will cross-promote and share content such as live coverage, Rivals college content, and fantasy sports products.
  • “Though both sites will maintain editorial independence, the partnership will include collaborations on original Web content that will appear on Yahoo Sports and NBCSports.com and will utilize both company’s popular personalities such as NBC’s Bob Costas and Mike Florio and Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel and Adrian Wojnarowski,” notes The Hollywood Reporter. “Yahoo Sports also will link to and promote the NBC Sports Live Extra streaming player.”
  • “And Yahoo Sports will become the exclusive fantasy game provider of NBC Sports’ Rotoworld, while Yahoo Sports’ Rivals.com will power recruiting and college sporting news for NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports Regional Networks,” the article continues.
  • Yahoo says the partnership will help fans access news and analysis in real time, regardless of where they are.
  • “The complementary nature of this partnership is unmatched in digital sports media,” says Mark Lazarus, NBC Sports chairman. “Through our growing television and digital platforms, the Yahoo Sports partnership dramatically expands the digital reach of NBC Sports around the biggest sporting events. We are committed to continually growing this alliance for the benefit of both parties, our sports-property partners, and, most importantly, sports fans.”

Time Warner Cable Adds Local New York Stations to its iPad Streaming App

  • Time Warner Cable is expected to add local broadcasting to its iPad streaming app in the New York City market. The app allows its customers to view broadcast programs on the tablet anywhere in their homes.
  • It will expand the local offering soon and extend it elsewhere by early next year, according to Rob Marcus, TWC’s chief operating officer.
  • The service will also include access to local newscasts and syndicated programming. “We’re moving towards delivering local programming, which is a little more difficult to do technologically,” Marcus explained to investors.
  • “Marcus reiterated that TWC believes it has rights to offer Viacom-owned networks on its app. The two companies are suing each other over the matter,” reports Media Daily News. “Cablevision has reached an agreement with Viacom, and offers its channels among the 300-plus it provides.”
  • “Marcus went on to say there is some impetus to move ahead with TV Everywhere-type opportunity extending outside the home, where it has a deal with ESPN and some others, but ‘the process has taken a lot longer than we would have anticipated at the outset,’” suggests the article.

A La Carte: Will the Future Apple TV Disrupt the Current Live TV Paradigm?

  • Forbes speculates that the rumored future Apple TV would create a demand for single channels, which could potentially break up the cable pricing monopoly.
  • Rather than paying for a package of a hundred channels, users would pay a la carte for content just as single-channel apps have become popular in the mobile sphere.
  • “Presumably, Apple wants to disrupt this market the same way the iPod and iTunes made it easier for consumers to buy music, and the way the iPhone is slowly moving the cellular industry to data plans over voice plans (see: iMessage, Facetime),” suggests the article.
  • Providers such as Time Warner Cable, Optimum and DirecTV already have apps for live streaming of channels. And ESPN, CNN and Major League Baseball have their own apps.
  • “[Cable providers] might consent to separate channel apps as long as each still requires an overall subscription…that would certainly put a crimp in [Apple's] potential plans to revolutionize television,” explains Forbes. “And if Apple provides incentives for channels to go it alone, the fight could be massive.”

Tout is Like Twitter for Video: Is This the Next Chapter in Social Media?

  • Social startup Tout offers a Twitter-like microblogging service, but enables users to publish 15-second video clips instead of 140-character text fragments.
  • “In other words, now anyone can be famous for 15 seconds,” suggests San Jose Mercury News.
  • When asked how it’s different from the Facebook feature that lets users post video chats, CEO Michael Downing explained the “abbreviated and near-instant nature of ‘touts’ makes them like mini-conversations.”
  • Endorsements from high-profile users such as Shaquille O’Neal, Mitt Romney and ESPN are helping the service build momentum.
  • O’Neal is one of many celebrities who have taken to communicating via Twitter (he currently has more than 4 million followers). “But what I’ve been noticing about Twitter lately is that you don’t know who the person you’re talking to really is,” he said. “When you can see my picture, you know it’s me.” O’Neal is so impressed with Tout that he took an ownership stake.
  • Since launching in mid-April, the San Francisco-based startup has attracted 4 million unique visitors. “It took Twitter two years to hit 1 million visitors,” explains Downing. “We hit it in under 12 weeks.”

Will Cable Operators Switch to A La Carte or Will Programmers Resist?

  • The weak economy is leading cable operators to reverse their opposition to so-called “a la carte” programming. Comcast and Time Warner have lost 1.2 million customers in the last 12 months.
  • Programming costs have risen 6-10 percent annually over the last decade. And the fear is that it will continue as they see ESPN, for example, sign a $15 billion, 8-year deal with the NFL. Cable and satellite operators are also now paying to retransmit local broadcast channels.
  • “There is a growing recognition that the current model is broken,” says Craig Moffett, cable analyst at Bernstein Research. He expects smaller, less costly programming packages to emerge as Time Warner is doing with its TV Essentials pack.
  • “The specter of unbundled programming is likely to encounter fierce resistance from network owners such as Viacom Inc or Discovery Communications Inc, which are keen to maintain the economics of selling their most popular channels as a package with their smaller, nascent networks,” reports Reuters.

ESPN: Monday Night Football Extension includes 3D Broadcast Rights

  • ESPN has announced an eight-year extension of “Monday Night Football” that includes 3D broadcast rights, expanded NFL studio programming, highlight rights for TV and ESPN.com, continued Spanish language rights, the Pro Bowl, the NFL Draft,  and rights to simulcast network coverage on tablet devices through the WatchESPN app.
  • The deal, which runs from 2014 to 2021, “should help quell ideas that ESPN 3D might be axed after its removal from U-verse,” suggests Engadget.
  • According to the press release: “The extensive package of NFL rights will fuel the continued growth of ESPN year-round, boosting its core television business while at the same time supporting the company’s ‘best available screen’ strategy with NFL programs on TV, online and on mobile devices via authentication and digital rights.”
  • The agreement will also lead to “Monday Night Football” celebrating its 50th anniversary season on ESPN in 2020.

MLB and Row 44 will Stream Live Games on Flights

  • In-flight entertainment provider Row 44 Inc. has announced a deal with MLB Advanced Media to provide live streams of more than 2,400 baseball games on Wi-Fi enabled devices on airlines.
  • The service will initially be made available to passengers on Southwest and Norwegian Air Shuttle flights.
  • “Southwest is currently in the process of wiring its entire fleet with Row 44’s in-flight broadband system,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “The carrier is offering the service for a introductory rate of $5.”
  • “The integration of live baseball games into Row 44′s in-flight broadband entertainment experience ensures our traveling fans won’t have to miss a pitch,” says Bob Bowman, chief executive of Major League Baseball Advanced Media.

Bar Fights: Videogame Fans Muscle their Way into Sports Bars

  • Sports bars have become venues for live Internet videogame matches between professional gamers.
  • The events attract a large numbers of gaming fans that have already been watching alone at home, but are attracted to the energy and screams of other fans. One tournament in July attracted some 85,000 online viewers via Twitch.tv.
  • “This summer, ‘Starcraft II’ has become the newest barroom spectator sport,” according to The Wall Street Journal. “Fans organize so-called Barcraft events, taking over pubs and bistros from Honolulu to Florida and switching big-screen TV sets to Internet broadcasts of professional game matches happening often thousands of miles away.”
  • The “Starcraft” franchise is very popular in Korea, where two cable stations provide dedicated coverage of “Starcraft II” (in addition to “Halo,” “Counter-Strike” and “Call of Duty”). Fervor for public viewings is spilling into the U.S. for the first time.
  • “This feels like the World Cup,” said one Barcraft attendee recently in San Francisco. “You experience the energy and screams of everyone around you when a player makes an amazing play.”

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