Disney in Discussions to Provide TV Everywhere-Type Authentication

  • Similar to the approach Fox announced last month, Disney is negotiating TV Anywhere deals for ABC-TV shows with distributors. Access would require authentication with a cable ID.
  • Fox provides next day access to viewers who log in with cable IDs, and makes others wait for eight days to view content on Fox.com or Hulu.
  • Disney already has deals with Time Warner Cable and Verizon FiOS to access ESPN content using a mobile app.
  • “Our overall approach…has been to make deals that increase revenue while at the same time protect and respect the channel distribution value that we see today,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said. The company is looking to build authentication into future deals, which Iger explains would “allow access to our programming faster or in a more aggressive window if the customer is a multichannel subscriber.”

Time Inc. to Offer its Magazines on Multiple Platforms

  • Time Inc. announced it will offer all of its 21 magazines including Time, Sports Illustrated, People and Fortune on just about every tablet platform.
  • Look for Time’s publications on iTunes, Android’s store, HP’s new tablet, Next Issue Media, and Nook by the end of this year. (There is no mention of RIM’s Playbook or Kindle yet.)
  • To date, Time’s digital magazine and content apps have been downloaded more than 11 million times.
  • “Note that while the release mentions ‘digital subscriptions,’ what that really means is ‘digital-only subscriptions available everywhere but iTunes,’ reports the Wall Street Journal. “Apple and Time Inc. still haven’t come to terms on subscription rules, so right now the only way to get a digital subscription for the iPad is to buy a subscription package that also includes print.”

Warner Bros. Rolls Out Flixster Collections Video Service this Week

  • Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes announced the availability of Flixster Collections, a social movie portal that went into public beta this week.
  • The service, a revamped version of the Flixster product acquired earlier this year, encourages users to share what they’ve watched with friends.
  • If there’s something you want to see, for example, Flixster directs you back to Amazon, iTunes, Hulu and Netflix (as well as your hard drive, if you let it). There are also links for theatrical films, including reviews, trailers and ticketing services.
  • “You can also imagine how this will tie in to Ultraviolet, the cloud/locker system for video that Warner and a big coalition of movie studios and tech companies (except for Apple and Amazon) are pushing,” writes Peter Kafka in All Things D.
  • So far, Flixster Collections is available for PCs and Macs, but no mobile app yet.

Apple Expected to Launch iTunes Replay in Coming Weeks

  • Apple is rumored to be securing the rights to allow downloading of TV shows and movies in addition to previously announced music in a new service called iTunes Replay.
  • The service will allow users to access movies they purchased since January 1, 2009. Some content will only be available for download five times.
  • Streaming will be to Apple TV and most likely iOS mobile devices.
  • AppAdvice reports: “The name, iTunes Replay is currently being used internally, and is planned to be kept when Apple makes this public. You should expect this to go public in the coming weeks, as the necessary changes are being pushed to Apple’s servers at the moment.”

McAfee Researchers Claim to Discover Massive Hacking Attack

  • McAfee researchers say they have uncovered the biggest hacker attack ever, involving 72 governments and organizations around the world, including the U.S., Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea, Canada and India — some dating back as far as 2006. Data compromised amounts to several petabytes of information.
  • The attack uses compromised remote access tools, or RATs, which allow system administrators to access systems from around the world and would allow an attacker to view and download confidential information. Some of those organizations and companies compromised still do not know it.
  • The attacker was not a hacker group but likely a “state actor” with very high skill levels (China is the “leading candidate”).
  • According to a blog post from Dmitri Alperovitch, McAfee’s VP Threat Research: “I am convinced that every company in every conceivable industry with significant size and valuable intellectual property and trade secrets has been compromised (or will be shortly), with the great majority of the victims rarely discovering the intrusion or its impact.”

Rovi Claims Hulu Infringes on Electronic Program Guide Patent

  • Rovi Corporation filed suit against Hulu last week, claiming that the video site infringes on its patents for electronic program guides.
  • Santa Clara, California-based Rovi provides technology that powers streaming services from Blockbuster On Demand and Best Buy’s CinemaNow. The company also licenses its technology to others such as Apple, Microsoft and Comcast.
  • The digital entertainment solutions provider claims that Hulu’s infringement “presents significant and ongoing damages to Rovi’s business.” The company is seeking compensation for lost license revenue and treble damages.
  • As previously reported by ETCentric, Hulu has been offered for sale by its owners (Disney, News Corp., NBC Universal and Providence Equity).

iOS Developers Unite Against Lodsys and Patent Trolls

  • Renowned iOS developer Mike Lee announced on Monday a new venture called Appsterdam Legal Defense Team that will band together the small developers to fight against patent trolls.
  • Ars Technica reports: “The goal, aside from the obvious one of being free from frivolous patent lawsuits, is to become ‘the ants of East Texas, minding their business until someone invades their anthill.'”
  • Apple has licensed patents from Lodsys, which it says covers third party developers — but the infringement claims against iOS developers are continuing.
  • The result is uncertainty that could imperil these smaller developers and the developer community generally, not only for Apple but for Android and other platforms.
  • “This is bigger than just Apple platforms,” explains Lee. “Apple has the luxury and history of moving very slowly — they accepted a 60 day discovery, for example. Dozens of app makers could be destroyed by then. There is also good chance Apple can’t actually sue Lodsys, since Apple is under contract by Intellectual Ventures and IV probably snuck indemnity in there.”
  • “We’re going after Lodsys for sure, but understand the ultimate target is Intellectual Ventures,” Lee added. “They are the Mordor to these trolls.”

Hollywood Studios Win Preliminary Injunction Against Zediva

  • A U.S. District judge in Los Angeles issued a preliminary injunction against Zediva, favoring the Motion Picture Association of America in its copyright infringement lawsuit.
  • Dan Robbins, senior VP for the MPAA, calls the decision a great victory for workers in the film and television industry.
  • Zediva streams recently released DVDs to customers and claims it is no different than a brick-and-mortar rental service but operates over the Internet.
  • Judge John Walter concluded that Zediva violates the “transmit” clause of the Copyright Act. Zediva will appeal the decision.

YouTube to Stream Music Fests, Looking More Like a TV Network

  • YouTube announced that it will live stream two music festivals — Lollapalooza in August and Austin City Limits in September — in a deal with sponsors Dell and AMD.
  • Two free streams will be offered for each concert — one for live performances, and the other for backstage content and interviews.
  • The popular video site is teaming up with producer C3 Presents for the festivals. YouTube says it has no interest in producing these events and prefers working with partners.
  • AMD says this is a way to efficiently reach the under 30 crowd. While they didn’t disclose the dollar amount for the sponsorship, AMD described the deal with YouTube as “significant.”
  • YouTube’s front page attracts a daily viewership of 50 million in the U.S.

SoftEther Develops 3D Motion-Capture Figure

  • Japan-based SoftEther has developed a 3D motion-capture figure dubbed Quma, designed to create 3D computer graphics and animations.
  • Quma is essentially a doll with sensors on each of its joints that allows a 3D artist to articulate the motion of characters and capture the positioning in a more intuitive manner (hold up an arm, for example, and the 3D figure on your computer screen will mimic the action in real-time).
  • The figure simply plugs into a USB port (no drivers or external power required).
  • 3D CG applications for Quma may include video games, robot applications, training and education simulations.
  • A release date and pricing has not yet been announced. The TechCrunch post features a video demo of the figure in action.

Update: Microsoft Drops Out of Auction for Hulu Service

  • Microsoft has reportedly dropped out of the bidding for Hulu and would not continue into a second round, according to “a person with knowledge of the matter.” (Although the individual did not rule out the possibility of Microsoft re-entering in a later round.)
  • Google, Yahoo, AT&T and as many as eight other companies remain interested in the online video service.
  • According to Business Insider, Yahoo is willing to spend up to $2 billion if it can get content rights for the next four or five years.
  • It has been reported that Hulu plans to offer five years of access to content from its media company owners (Disney, News Corp. and Comcast’s NBC Universal), including two years of exclusivity.

Sony Computer Entertainment Discusses Long Term 3D Strategy

  • Sony’s Mick Hocking talks about what they’ve learned about 3D in the last year at Sony Computer Entertainment. Hocking has been responsible for spearheading the 3D games enterprise.
  • The main lesson involves the need to educate developers in how to produce quality 3D. “We’ve actually now got a guide with 10 points for producing technically correct 3D, it’s our 3D 10 Commandments if you like, and we also have lots of resources now to help developers creatively with 3D as well.”
  • Last year 3D had a “wow factor.” This year there are many 3D capable devices becoming available.
  • Sony has 50 million 3D-enabled PlayStation 3 units and over 50 3D games in the market. In addition, there are 3D Blu-ray, 3D MP4s and 3D Camcorders and 3D HDTVs. Sony may look to build 3D on a handheld. Virtual reality may come back with Sony’s head-mounted, twin-OLED 3D display.
  • Despite what critics are describing as waning interest from consumers, Hocking emphasized that 3D remains a long term strategy for Sony.

Time Warner to Stream CNN and HLN Online

  • As part of its “TV Everywhere” strategy, Time Warner is streaming live simulcasts beginning this week of cable news channels CNN and HLN to people who subscribe via distributors such as Comcast, Dish Network and Verizon.
  • “TV Everywhere” is designed to discourage service cancellations by subscribers (also known as “cord cutting”).
  • Media companies are hoping to gain additional revenue from streaming either directly from distributors or through higher TV ratings.
  • “We’re trying to lead by example. We’re trying to show that it works,” said Andy Heller, vice chairman of Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting. “If we don’t give consumers those options, you run the risk of seeing the potential for cord cutting.”

Increasing Number of TV Viewers are Busy with Multiple Screens

  • Due to the growing popularity of tablets, smartphones, laptops and other devices, TV audiences are becoming increasingly busy interacting with other screens while watching their shows.
  • According to a Harris Interactive survey, more than half of Americans surf the Internet while watching TV, forty percent visit social networking sites and 37 percent are busy texting.
  • Marketers can take the distraction and convert it to an opportunity by embracing “distraction media” as a tool for supplemental or enhanced consumer engagement.
  • Examples of current transmedia successes include the TV series “Eat St.” that has its own iPhone app featuring location-based vendors on the show — and Old Navy, that has commercial spots allowing smartphone users to buy the clothes being featured or download the song being played.

Ford Demonstrates the First Private Cloud Vehicle

  • Ford recently demonstrated a “short-range” Wi-Fi network that allows vehicles to communicate in a private cloud with other vehicles.
  • One key application is to alert drivers of potential crash situations in time to allow them to respond. The cloud technology has significant advantages over radar systems.
  • The technology could also enable communication with a traffic management system to help avoid traffic jams, thereby saving time and fuel.
  • Ford hopes to have its intelligent car technology in production as early as 2013.