After months of bidding, Hulu’s owners — News Corp., NBCUniversal, Disney and Providence Equity Partners — have decided to stop its sale.
“Since Hulu holds a unique and compelling strategic value to each of its owners, we have terminated the sale process and look forward to working together to continue mapping out its path to even greater success,” explained the partners in a short statement. “Our focus now rests solely on ensuring that our efforts as owners contribute in a meaningful way to the exciting future that lies ahead for Hulu.”
In a related TechCrunch post, it was suggested that media companies saw more value in retaining licensing fees than selling them.
Bidders were not willing to pay more for Hulu knowing that the costs for content rights would increase dramatically after the two year period being sold. (Google reportedly bid $4 billion, but wanted streaming rights for longer than the guaranteed “couple of years.”)
A new study from Nielsen shows that approximately 40 percent of tablet and smartphone owners use their devices on a daily basis while simultaneously viewing television. The figures jump to 70 percent for users who do the same several times a week.
Most of these viewers are primarily checking email, followed by surfing information and accessing social networks, suggesting strong potential for second-screen applications.
The study suggests users are accessing social networks more than websites with information related to the TV program. “Unfortunately, the study doesn’t break down if people are 1) participating or just listening to social conversations and 2) if the conversations are related to the TV program at hand,” reports Lost Remote. “But it’s probably safe to say that more viewers are more inclined to talk about (or listen to) conversations about a TV show than proactively look up expanded content about it.”
Successful second-screen apps should bring together “social conversations, expanded content and interactive (even synchronized) advertising,” suggests the article. “Compelling second-screen experiences, in theory, will move the needle more in the ‘related’ direction, making TV viewers more engaged overall.”
A new report from media forecasting firm Magnaglobal shows that by 2016 cable subscriptions will dramatically decline as online becomes the medium of choice.
Magnaglobal predicts that 9 million households will not subscribe to traditional pay TV services (triple today’s amount), of which 4 million will be cord cutters who cancel their service to opt for content via the Internet.
Additionally, The New York Times points out that the number of young consumers who have never signed up for cable or satellite service, but rely on services such as Hulu and Netflix for their media, will continue to grow. “The number of people who never signed up for cable is expected to double — to 5 million, from 2.5 million today — by 2016, according to the report.”
The growth of DVR ownership is also expected to decline, as consumers continue to adopt devices that enable streaming of content via the Web.
Nielsen data is no longer enough for effective TV planning and buying, suggests Networked Insights, a company that “analyzes social data to uncover trends and consumer engagement opportunities.”
Networked Insights recently published reports that focus on the value of television viewers’ social data. One such report examined top social TV shows from FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS and CW. Viewers were grouped by TV Fans, Millennials, Gamers, Electronic Consumers, Moms and Sports Fans, while general sentiments from each group were analyzed.
“What’s impressive is how the company looks at specifically where ad money is being spent to analyze the conversations around the show,” reports Lost Remote. “For example, before the show even premiered, they described NBC’s ‘massive ad campaign’ for ‘Whitney’ as a ‘Social Turkey,’ and that ‘over-hyping a show is underwhelming potential fans.'”
Another report revealed opportunities for a Toyota Corolla TV ad to improve its digital strategies, specifying where targeted spending would be most effective. Respondents included fans of AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” The article suggests that the case study “is pretty compelling proof that social data can help you get the competitive advantage in TV planning and buying if you listen in the right places across the social web.”
Networked Insights recently announced $20 million in series B funding from Goldman Sachs.
Producer Mark Burnett and the team at Youtoo is hoping to kickstart the first age of social TV by “putting 500 people on TV each day — providing more Americans than ever before with a real shot at their 15 minutes of fame,” according to the press release.
Burnett’s production studio VIMBY (Video in My BackYard) and online distributor KoldCast TV have joined Youtoo CEO and founder Chris Wyatt in the venture.
“VIMBY will be producing content for the network asking users to submit video ‘FameSpots’ or ‘Social Shouts’ via the Web, iPhone, iPad or Android to insert themselves into the content,” reports Lost Remote.
Youtoo’s patent-pending software and cross-platform technology stack enable users to record an HD broadcast quality video, or a “FameSpot,” which is filtered by the software and if chosen, will be put into the live broadcast feed.
“Youtoo is the world’s first social TV network,” says Wyatt. “Since millions of people want to be on TV, we created a website and app for that. Youtoo is a social network, television network, and the technology to make them all work together. Just like a social network, you can interact with your friends or followers. However, you can also interact with a national audience on TV. Think of it as Facebook for TV in concept.”
Youtoo launched September 27th in beta and is currently live. According to Wyatt, the network has distribution to 15 million households through Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, Charter, Verizon, Service Electric, Bright House, National Cable Television Cooperative and Insight Cable.
Toshiba is showcasing its 55-inch Regza 55X3 TV at CEATEC this week in Japan. The unit boasts a resolution of 3,840×2,160 — and glasses-free 3D at 1,280×720 — for what TechCrunch is calling “the first TV of its kind.”
“The TV features 5,000:1 contrast ratio, LED backlight, a new processor called ‘REGZA Engine CEVO Duo,’ a face-tracking function to enable high-quality 3D pictures for viewers, REGZA LINK, five digital tuners, 10W×2ch+10W speakers, four HDMI ports, and two USB ports,” reports TechCrunch.
TechRadar reports that the Toshiba TV joins Sony’s VPL-VW1000ES projector and Sharp’s 60-inch LCD in the 4K offerings featured at CEATEC this week. The report also suggests Toshiba hopes to ship 1,000 units a month of the Regza 55X3. “This is high hopes for a technology that’s burgeoning in the cinema market but is brand new in the home,” indicates TechRadar. “And with the economic climate as it is will be something of a battle, even with both Sony and Toshiba on board.”
The Regza 55X3 will be available by December in Japan for $11,730 (U.S.).
Sharp is unveiling its new 60-inch LCD TV touting a 3,840×2,160 resolution at CEATEC in Japan this week.
The prototype offers four times the definition of full HD and uses ICC (Integrated Cognitive Creation) technology developed by the I3 (I-cubed) Research Center in Kawasaki. ICC attempts to emulate depth and distance experienced when viewing scenes in real life.
According to the video demo, the technology involves more than up-conversion of HD content to 4K and noise reduction. Instead, it offers “viewers a sense of perspective, 3D dimensionality and texture that’s much more similar to the natural world” by creating images with “an optical signal instead of an electrical signal.”
“It’s not as impressive as that 85-inch TV with Super Hi-Vision resolution (7,680×4,320 pixels) Sharp showed in May this year,” reports TechCrunch, “but in contrast to that model, the 4K TV has a (vague) sales date: sometime in 2012 and in Japan first, according to the company.”
Rob Wiesenthal, chief financial officer of Sony America and chief strategy officer of Sony Entertainment, says TVs will get access to video content through tablets which would enable, for example, Sony’s Video Unlimited subscribers to go to a friend’s house and “throw” a film to the TV set.
“If you think back five years, it was all about the boxes; Tivo, Slingbox, Roku,” he said. “I think consumers really had box exhaustion.” Apple’s AirPlay, for example, allows iPads and iPhones to wirelessly connect to TVs.
Sony is using the Digital Living Network Alliance standard to interoperate with different manufacturer’ devices without the need for a box.
“Other benefits include the lure of offering more targeted advertising through an IP-enabled tablet than has proved possible through set-top boxes, and the advantages of finding content on a tablet rather than by aiming a remote control at a TV 10 feet away,” reports Financial Times.
In order for this approach to work, however, home Wi-Fi networks will require the capacity to transfer large video files without interruptions and cable providers will need to be willing to make content available this way.
Amsterdam’s annual IBC event offered a number of potential TV game-changers earlier this month, suggests TVNewsCheck. These include cloud-based or service-oriented architecture (SOA) applications for capturing, producing, processing and distributing digital video and audio; IT-based playout (channel in a box) tools that could potentially make broadcast playout more affordable; and 3D technology likely to be deployed for the 2012 London Olympics.
Also on display were technologies “aimed at making 3D production more affordable and compatible with standard 2D operations.”
Cloud services were at the forefront since broadcasters are now challenged by having to support an increasing number of distribution platforms.
Vendors discussed the fundamental concerns about cloud-based architectures, “notably content security, access to content, collaboration, bandwidth and workflow continuity,” reports TVNewsCheck.
In a related article from GigaOM that analyzes shifts in traditional television, venture capitalist Habib Kairouz writes that the TV industry is poised for some significant changes due to a number of upcoming trends: TV anywhere and anytime will catch on; the rise of the Internet-connected TV and interactive programming; and personalized advertising.
The article suggests that content owners will benefit as MSOs, IPTV providers, and others compete with one another. MSO’s are hedging their bets by purchasing both traditional and interactive content, while TV manufacturers are looking to build Internet services into their low margin businesses. We should watch for new entrants to increase the disruption in this space.
Turner is working with Google TV to launch apps giving users who authenticate they are pay TV subscribers access to full-length episodes of TBS and TNT shows.
Turner is already doing this on the Web and through iPad and iPhone apps. The broadcaster confirmed it will offer the new apps, but did not say when they’d be available.
The next version of Google TV is expected in a few weeks. “The second iteration of the platform will be based on Android 3.1 (a.k.a. Honeycomb) and have access to the Android Market,” reports GigaOM. “Dedicated apps as well as authentication features could possibly convince other TV networks to embrace the platform as well, but it’s unclear how this would be received by consumers.”
Consumer interest in Google TV had been initially tepid but is showing some signs of improvement. Logitech, for example, was forced to drop the price of its Revue set-top box from $250 to $99 in July, but then the companion box to Google TV “made a brief appearance in Amazon’s list of the ten best-selling gadgets last month,” indicates the article.
TV industry insiders can start monitoring buzz around TV shows through Trendrr’s real-time dashboard, launched this week.
It measures buzz on Facebook, Twitter, GetGlue, and Miso and allows users to compare the show’s performance on the various platforms.
The dashboard can tell users how effective the social networking sites are in building up anticipation for upcoming episodes and how long the buzz lasts the moment the show airs.
It can also tell which show is garnering the most buzz, show top markets and hash tags, and explore Twitter users tweeting about the show.
“Trendrr and its parent company Wiredset have been tracking how well TV shows fare in social media for quite some time, and the company claims to count half of the top 25 cable networks as its customers,” reports GigaOM. “Its most ambitious project so far has been the Weather Channel’s new social media initiative, which incorporates curated tweets into the network’s website and on-air programming.”
Netgear will roll out its smart TV box, the $80 NeoTV Streaming Player, which provides streaming media from Netflix, Vudu, YouTube, Pandora, Napster, Picasa, blip.tv, Crunchyroll, Revision3 and others.
“Looks like Netgear is taking what it learned from licensing Roku’s tech last year and streamlining its connected TV offerings,” suggests Engadget.
The company’s press release indicates the device “opens up a world of Internet entertainment with streaming movies, TV shows, music, videos, news clips and games.” Users can also connect to friends through Facebook and Twitter channels.
“On the hardware side you’re looking at a glossy black box with a 300Mbps Wi-Fi radio, Ethernet, optical audio out and, of course, HDMI,” reports Engadget. The media player also includes a regular remote control for those who opt not to use the NeoTV Remote app via their smartphone.
The Roku 2 XS is currently the CNET pick for best media streaming solution under $100, but NeoTV may provide some competition.
“CSI: Miami” editor and creator of 2-pop FCP informational site, Lawrence Jordan A.C.E., provides an alternative analysis of Apple’s much maligned Final Cut Pro X release.
In his recent Editors Guild Magazine article, Jordan discusses the history of FCP emerging as an affordable alternative to Avid, the unveiling of FCP X at the SuperMeet in Las Vegas, the subsequent negative backlash and comparisons to iMovie, Apple’s response to the debacle, and a refreshingly optimistic view of FCP’s future.
“Marketing debacles aside, once you dig in and start to really understand the breadth and depth of the things it can do, it’s hard to argue that Final Cut Pro X is not groundbreaking,” he writes. “It’s a slick, sophisticated and innovative rethinking of the editing paradigm that, considering Apple’s weight and power in the marketplace, will very likely be embraced by an entire new generation of media creators — people who will be crafting stories into the future, for platforms and devices that don’t even exist yet.”
Jordan concludes on a promising note: “Although I can’t recommend it to my fellow editors for editing features or television in its current incarnation (after all, it is only version 1.0), I look forward to what Final Cut Pro X will have to offer as it matures and as Apple begins to deliver on promises of a professional-level product that meets the needs and expectations of both its new and experienced users. I guess we will just all have to wait and see.”
French company Movea is looking to provide motion control options for TV and set-top box manufacturers.
The company’s MoveTV platform offers remote control technology to OEMs, and “opens up the company’s tools to developers for building games and apps,” reports Engadget.
The post lists early partners: Korean cable provider C&M Media — and Remote Solution, which “will be licensing Movea’s SmartMotion and integrating MoveTV into the set-tops provided to C&M.”
“MoveTV is the first platform that takes an ecosystem approach, offering an integrated suite of SmartMotion technology components tailored to the needs of service providers, application developers and the different PayTV ecosystem partners. MoveTV platform components work together seamlessly on the backend and are designed to be modular, giving ecosystem partners the flexibility to adopt different levels of motion-driven functionality and capabilities,” says Sam Guilaumé, CEO of Movea.
Ooyala Social, a new HD-quality Social TV platform (and additional entry point for Ooyala Everywhere) allows Facebook users to “share video with their friends and family, live chat while viewing, discover new content and watch video across multiple screens and devices,” according to the company’s press release.
It supports several business models including rentals, subscriptions, purchases and advertising.
Discovering new shows is based on user’s social circles. Viewers can share videos they “like” with their friends, or “loan” a show for later viewing.
Users can watch from tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs. They can purchase, rent, or subscribe to content by using Facebook Credits, PayPal, a credit card or a mobile phone number.
“Broadcasters, distributors and Hollywood studios can capitalize on the Social TV trend by using Ooyala Social to make premium on-demand and live video widely and easily available on Facebook,” suggests the press release. “The solution offers built-in social features and other tools that enable media companies to grow audiences, boost viewer engagement and realize new revenue streams.”