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

FOX Launches Digital Syndication Network for App Partners

FOX has announced a new syndication network that will allow second screen TV apps including Shazam, Viggle, ConnecTV and Dijit’s NextGuide to link with its sync-to-broadcast content, currently accessible via FOX NOW apps. The network will also allow FOX to syndicate content to smart TVs and service providers interested in enhancing audience engagement. Additional partners are expected to be announced soon. Continue reading FOX Launches Digital Syndication Network for App Partners

American Idol Adds New Twitter Fan Meter for Live Polling

“American Idol” has begun using Twitter as a platform through which to take instant audience polls. Using two possible hashtags per question, those in the audience can respond to network inquiries like: Do you agree with the judges tonight? Once the answers are submitted, Fox and partner FremantleMedia will update a graphic almost instantaneously as results come in, creating a live tug of war. Continue reading American Idol Adds New Twitter Fan Meter for Live Polling

Fox Partners with WIGS, Female-Friendly YouTube Channel

On Tuesday, Fox Broadcasting announced it will take the YouTube channel WIGS under its wing. Conceived as a channel for female-friendly dramas on the Web, Fox is set to help sell ads on the channel and will distribute its videos to more viewers. Additionally, WIGS will partly serve as an idea incubator for Fox, with the hope that some programs will evolve into prime time dramas. Continue reading Fox Partners with WIGS, Female-Friendly YouTube Channel

CES 2013: Panasonic and Fox CTOs Discuss the Future of 4K

Panasonic hosted its CTO Eisuke Tsuyuzaki, Fox Filmed Entertainment CTO Hanno Basse and director, writer and actor Danny DeVito Wednesday for a panel on the intersection of technology and entertainment. The two CTOs covered the 4K push, the future of 3D and the relationship between electronic manufacturers and content providers, before making way for DeVito to discuss his view of technology in media production. Continue reading CES 2013: Panasonic and Fox CTOs Discuss the Future of 4K

New Cord-Cutting Tool: Boxee to Offer USB Live TV Stick in January

  • Boxee is augmenting its broadband box for cord-cutters with a USB dongle that provides users access to broadcast TV.
  • According to paidContent: “Boxee, which has been working mightily to get people to cut their cable cords with its own broadband box for five years, is preparing a new add-on product in January that will let users pull out the cable cord and plug a USB device into their cable box, giving them access to broadcast TV channels like ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC for free.”
  • “If you live and die by ESPN, then yes, you have to stay on cable. But we believe there are plenty of people who just want access to regular broadcast channels,” says Avner Ronen, CEO and co-founder of Boxee.
  • However, Ronen believes there are consumers interested in basic broadcast content that would benefit from this approach. “The problem with canceling your cable subscription and relying just on the Internet has been the lack of live sports, a presidential address, local news, special events and live TV shows,” he told paidContent. “But these things are all available on broadcast TV channels…for free, over the air in HD.”
  • The Live TV stick will be available for $49, as an add-on to the $180 Boxee Box.

SMPTE Fellow Andy Setos Wins Emmy for Lifetime Achievement

  • Andy Setos was honored with an Emmy Award last week — the Charles F. Jenkins Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
  • The award is a special engineering honor recognizing “an individual whose contributions over a long period of time have significantly affected the state of television technology and engineering.”
  • Setos was at Fox for 23 years where he was responsible for “guiding the company through the digital transition, the adoption of HD technology, content and standards issues and the regulatory landscape,” reports TVB.
  • “Andy Setos not only led some of the industry’s important technical efforts but contributed significantly to standards that ensure equipment and infrastructural interoperability and go-forward integration paths for new devices and technologies,” said SMPTE president Pete Lude.

CinemaNow Introduces Availability of HD Movies from Fox and Warner Bros.

  • CinemaNow — the online video service launched by electronics chain Best Buy in 2010 — has announced it will offer 1080p HD movies from Fox and Warner Bros. on personal computers. “Until now, only standard-definition movies were available from CinemaNow on the PC,” writes Carolyn Giardina in The Hollywood Reporter.
  • Thomas Gewecke, president of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, indicates that CinemaNow is using Intel technology to make secure HD content available. “Intel Insider is a hardware-based security technology in second-generation Intel Core processors,” reports THR, “which is the fastest-shipping Intel product with more than 75 million units shipped to date.”
  • “The partnership with Intel and Best Buy’s CinemaNow to bring HD digital downloads of our movies to the PC will expand our reach to millions of devices in the U.S. and potentially more around the world,” adds Mike Dunn, worldwide president at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.
  • CinemaNow currently offers approximately 15,000 movies and TV shows.

Networked Insights Hopes to Fine-Tune Social Data for TV Advertisers

  • 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.

Microsoft: Xbox Video Service Features Voice and Motion Controls

  • Microsoft is getting a boatload of new content for its Xbox video service intended to help it serve as a digital media hub. The company has struck deals with Comcast, Verizon, HBO and others.
  • Verizon and Comcast will be joining AT&T’s U-Verse to provide content, although while Verizon will include live video TV and video on demand, Comcast is testing the waters with its VOD library only. HBO Go streaming access will provide HBO original programming and movies from Warner Bros., Fox Searchlight and Universal Studios. Bravo, EPIX and Syfy are among the cable networks that will be available. Xbox’s international content will include the BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5 and LOVEFiLM in the UK; Antena 3, RTVE and Telefonica in Spain; and Televisa in Mexico.
  • But how do you get to the movies, TV shows, games and music that you want? Microsoft hopes you will command your Xbox with voice control, motion control and a Windows smartphone.
  • “This is incremental stuff but it’s still interesting. A source who’s played with the new service says it’s genuinely cool. Just as important, given that Microsoft has sold some 50 million compatible machines, it has (potential) leverage to do some really interesting stuff,” reports All Things D. “This is where Google TV would like to be, and it’s why Google is out pitching content guys for a relaunch this fall.”

UltraViolet Announces Global Roll-Out: Studios Get Ready for the Cloud

  • UltraViolet (UV), the digital locker system that allows viewing of content across multiple devices, will roll out on October 11th in the U.S. with an expanded global rollout expected in the months to follow.
  • “All of the major studios are supporting the new cloud-based product, although Disney is not one of the more than 70 official members of the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, which oversees UV,” reports Variety.
  • Warner Bros. exec Justin Herz said this week that his studio will provide half of its movie and TV catalog available on UltraViolet by the end of 2012. The first UV release, Warners’ “Horrible Bosses,” will reportedly be released Tuesday, to be followed by the availability of “Green Lantern.”
  • Fox suggested that “a significant” amount of its content would soon be UV-enabled, while Sony plans to launch with “The Smurfs” and “Friends With Benefits.”
  • “Studios that have signed up for UV hope the new technology will re-ignite the home entertainment market and boost revenues following the collapse of DVD sales and the failure of Blu-ray to generate excitement among consumers,” adds Variety. “UV-enabled discs allow buyers to watch the same content on 12 different devices with an Internet connection, including connected TVs, laptops, tablets or mobiles, once they open a streaming account.”

Will the Kindle Fire Help Amazon Take on Netflix? Content Will Decide

  • Amazon’s launch of the Kindle Fire tablet may have an impact on Netflix, since the new tablet will make it easier for users to watch streaming video content via Amazon.
  • “With its $199 price point the tablet could sell like crazy this Christmas,” reports Forbes. “Users will be encouraged to buy Amazon Prime in order to speed their Amazon purchases and Prime just happens to come complete with Amazon’s streaming video service.”
  • The decision for consumers between Amazon Prime and Netflix will likely be based on pricing and variety of content offerings.
  • Amazon Prime beats Netflix on price, set at $80 a year ($6.67 per month), while Netflix streaming costs $8 a month.
  • Netflix, however, has more variety of content with 51,000 titles currently available for streaming, compared to Amazon’s 11,000.
  • Amazon may soon be able to compete in this regard with added content from Fox and CBS deals. Netflix has similar deals with Fox and CBS and a new DreamWorks Animation deal, but it will lose movies from Sony and Disney with the loss of Starz.
  • Both companies may press Hollywood to license more content for streaming, but continuing to pay more for films could potentially break Netflix, while Amazon has other sources of revenue to cover costs.

Yahoo Hopes to Increase Net Traffic with More Original Programming

  • Yahoo will introduce a new lineup of original programming beginning in early October, reports Variety.
  • The eight short-form series will feature appearances from actors including Morgan Spurlock, Niecy Nash and Judy Greer.
  • Erin McPherson, VP and head of video at Yahoo, indicates this is the first phase in a planned increase for 2012 regarding originals hoping to “yield even bigger names, longer programs and maybe even scripted fare.”
  • “While Yahoo isn’t about to overtake Fox or CBS as those nets launch their fall schedules, the company will mix some traditional TV programming tactics with its own new-media savvy,” suggests the article.
  • Yahoo reportedly leveraged user metrics to determine what types of shows would sell and has plans to redesign its video platform to be more like Netflix and YouTube.
  • According to Variety: “Of the 47.3 million video streams Yahoo generated in July, its original series alone garnered 27 million — more than the 24.4 million Hulu scored in its entirety that month.”

New Direction: Apple Pulls The Plug on TV Rentals from iTunes

  • There has been a fair amount of recent press regarding changes to Apple’s TV rental offerings. Peter Kafka, reporting for The Wall Street Journal, writes: “Apple has completely removed customers’ ability to rent shows from iTunes; the remaining options are to buy individual episodes or in some cases a ‘Season Pass’ for a year’s worth of shows.”
  • Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr says people prefer buying TV shows instead of renting, which not surprisingly may be more in line with the needs of customers interested in Apple’s cloud initiatives. “iTunes in the Cloud lets customers download and watch their past TV purchases from their iOS devices, Apple TV, Mac or PC allowing them to enjoy their programming whenever and however they choose,” Neumayr said.
  • According to a Fox statement: “After carefully considering the results of the rental trial, it became clear that content ownership is a more attractive long-term value proposition both for iTunes customers and for our business. To further enhance the value of ownership, we are working with Apple to make content available within their new cloud-based service.”

Piracy Surge: Fox 8-Day Delay Draws Negative Consumer Response

  • Since Fox implemented its 8-day delay of content availability on Hulu, downloads from BitTorrent for shows such as “Hell’s Kitchen” and “MasterChef” have increased 114 percent and 189 percent, respectively. Others are watching Fox shows on video sites including YouTube.
  • Moreover, the situation is creating negative consumer reactions as consumers are forced to find content elsewhere.
  • “One of the main motivations for people to download and stream TV shows from unauthorized sources is availability,” reports TorrentFreak. “If fans can’t get a show through legal channels they turn to pirated alternatives.”
  • The post suggests that some consumers have indicated they will be returning to their DVRs and may even dust off their VCRs in response.

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