Netflix Chief Exec Tells Conference: “There’s Not Enough TV”

At The New York Times’ DealBook conference, Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings pointed to a broad, sustained growth of consumer spending on entertainment as proof that there is not enough television content currently available. Great content, he said, will find viewers. The bar for quality is rising, he noted further, and said Netflix is maintaining its high standards by working with other production companies. As an example, he pointed to “Narcos,” which was produced with French company Gaumont. Continue reading Netflix Chief Exec Tells Conference: “There’s Not Enough TV”

Intel Debuts Low Cost, Low Power Chips for Internet of Things

Intel has made a strong move to compete in the Internet of Things, by announcing Quark, a new line of low-power, less expensive microcontroller chips. The new Quark chips draw 27 milliwatts, one-thousandths of a watt, compared to Intel’s standard chips that draw approximately 15 watts, and will be priced at $2 to $3. The new chips do not adhere to the Intel’s x86 chip design, which the company has used since the 1980s. With microcontroller chips, Intel faces new competition from Freescale Semiconductor and Atmel. Continue reading Intel Debuts Low Cost, Low Power Chips for Internet of Things

Viacom Marries Madison Ave. and Silicon Valley for Better Ads

Viacom is introducing a new strategy involving the use of big data to optimize the placement of ads. Initially known as Project Gemini (after an early NASA human spaceflight program), and now called Vantage, Viacom’s new big data capabilities were created by data scientists and other technologists hired away from Microsoft and elsewhere. As Viacom leverages Silicon Valley technology in an effort to capture Madison Avenue dollars, competitors are ramping up similar big data strategies. Continue reading Viacom Marries Madison Ave. and Silicon Valley for Better Ads

Vice Media, Valued at $5 Billion, Keeps Growing, Inking Deals

Vice Media has generated more buzz, media partnerships and revenue than most new media companies. Traditional media companies following young male viewers fleeing TV find the coveted demographic at home at Vice, making it a particularly attractive target for investments, partnerships and, potentially, acquisition. One recent blip, however, is an accounting snafu: whereas Vice says company revenue will hit nearly $1 billion this year, others have said that number is much closer to $500 million. Continue reading Vice Media, Valued at $5 Billion, Keeps Growing, Inking Deals

Lionsgate and Fox to Mold Movies into Theme Park Attractions

“Hunger Games,” “Divergent” and “Twilight” are Lions Gate Entertainment hits now morphing into theme park attractions in the U.S., U.K., China and the United Arab Emirates. Two theme parks near Atlanta and Macau, built by different companies, will host a “Hunger Games” stage show already slated to be performed in London and as part of a Lionsgate zone in a $3 billion entertainment complex being built in the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox announced yesterday that it plans to open a theme park in Dubai in 2018 that features Fox movies and TV shows such as “Aliens,” “Ice Age,” “The Simpsons” and “Sons of Anarchy.” Continue reading Lionsgate and Fox to Mold Movies into Theme Park Attractions

BlackBerry’s First Android Device Retains Security Technology

BlackBerry has finally done something it said it would never do: ditch its own operating system. Expected to ship by the end of November, Priv is based on the Android operating system but also incorporates BlackBerry’s encryption technology, still considered superior by the government and industry entities that have been central to the company’s success. Whereas BlackBerry phones once dominated usage among bank, law and other professional employment, the Canadian company lost market share to Apple and Android smartphones. Continue reading BlackBerry’s First Android Device Retains Security Technology

Internet Service Providers Compete for OTT Video Dominance

Competition in the OTT video market has heated up over this last year, and will likely build over the coming year, say some experts. Currently in online video, the top five online video destinations account for 85 percent of the market share. High-trafficked video destinations include YouTube and Facebook and TV brands such as ESPN, CNN and Fox Sports. But the mid-to-long tail sites have almost no video — which is worth significantly more than display advertising — making it an opportunity that’s been waiting to happen. Continue reading Internet Service Providers Compete for OTT Video Dominance

SEC Greenlights Crowdfunding for Startups, Keeps Watchful Eye

After three years of consideration, the Securities and Exchange Commission now allows ordinary investors to take equity stakes in startups through crowdfunding. The move began with the 2012 Jumpstart Our Business Startups, or JOBS Act, to assist startups and small businesses to raise capital from potential investors. But, until last week, only investors whose net worth was greater than $1 million (excluding their primary residences) or earned more than $200,000 a year were permitted to invest via crowdfunding. Continue reading SEC Greenlights Crowdfunding for Startups, Keeps Watchful Eye

Users Express Concern Over Snapchat’s Updated Privacy Policy

Snapchat has appealed to its fans for a variety of reasons, chief among them the fact that its photo messages disappear once they’ve been opened. That ephemeral nature has now been up-ended with the startup’s new Terms of Service. Whereas, formerly, Snapchat noted that its privacy policy was “delete is our default,” its new terms state that the company has the right, specifically in regards to the ‘Live Story’ feature, to reproduce, modify and republish photos as well as save them to Shapchat’s servers. The update has led to concern and confusion by many users. Continue reading Users Express Concern Over Snapchat’s Updated Privacy Policy

SMPTE 2015: Examining HDR Tech Challenges and Solutions

High dynamic range is lauded for its more vivid colors and life-like imagery. Initially introduced by TV set manufacturers, an increasing number of gear manufacturers have introduced HDR capabilities and SMPTE just released standard specifications. But implementing HDR into production, post production and distribution can also create problems that degrade the image, with artifacts and banding. Several experts talked about the challenges in implementing HDR, and the potential solutions to them. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Examining HDR Tech Challenges and Solutions

SMPTE 2015: Experts Greenlight IP Technology for Broadcast

Television production facilities began incorporating IP, or Internet Protocol, technology several years ago, and an increasing number of broadcast equipment manufacturers are supporting the video/audio signal transport format. But is IP networking mature and robust enough for broadcasters to consider replacing their now-standard SDI networks with “all IP” versions? Broadcasters and broadcast equipment manufacturers have been busy trying to answer that question, and some of their results were presented at SMPTE 2015. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Experts Greenlight IP Technology for Broadcast

SMPTE 2015: Preserving and Archiving for the Next 150 Years

In addition to tackling issues related to new technologies — from Ultra HD to high dynamic range and high frame rates — SMPTE also considers how to preserve film and assets of the past. In a wide-ranging morning of sessions, experts considered the factors required to view archival content on HDR projectors or HDR displays; how the Library of Congress maintains the viability of over 7 million audio-visual assets for a mandated 150 years; and how to restore the original, variable frame rates of silent films for digital projection. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Preserving and Archiving for the Next 150 Years

SMPTE 2015: Hollywood Engineers Examine OTT Deployment

As OTT becomes an increasingly compelling delivery platform, engineers born and bred on over-the-air, cable and satellite technologies are closely examining various schemes for deployment. On SMPTE 2015’s second day, sessions focused on that topic, featuring panelists from Prime Focus Technologies, Comcast and USC Viterbi School of Engineering. The big take-away was that going over-the-top might take some planning but it’s a worthwhile route to take, to engage viewers and provide more data for advertisers. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Hollywood Engineers Examine OTT Deployment

SMPTE 2015: Delineating Ways to Broadcast Ultra HD 4K TV

The future of high dynamic range (HDR), wide color gamut and high frame rate (HFR) are a focus in the industry, so it was no surprise that several presentations at SMPTE 2015 took a closer look at these topics. One panelist made the point that the human visual system doesn’t see resolution, color gamut and frame rate as separate parameters, therefore we can’t treat them as such. Broadcasters working to playback UHD/4K TV are dealing with issues as their plants evolve from SDI-only to SDI/IP hybrid transport. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Delineating Ways to Broadcast Ultra HD 4K TV

SMPTE 2015: Post Production Is Moving to the Cloud, Slowly

In the world of UHD/4K, movies and TV programs can require massive amounts of compute power. Take a recent 50-minute UHD natural history documentary that Sundog Media Toolkit worked on. Chief executive Richard Welsh reports it ran for four hours on over 5,000 processors. The necessity for finding huge amounts of compute power is becoming a challenge for productions, he notes.We could have run that job in real time if we had split it up more, and that would have taken us up to more than 20,000 processors for one hour.” Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Post Production Is Moving to the Cloud, Slowly

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