Virtual reality and Augmented reality
Latest example of value of content and need for storytelling .
Means that the 24/7 vod market will continue to grow and advertisers will pay.
Everything is TV now.
Microsoft, Yahoo see future in television
Dina Bass, Cliff Edwards and Claire Suddath
Apr 7, 2014 03:54 PM
Microsoft Corp. is going Hollywood with a cast including comedians Sarah Silverman and Seth Green, aspiring World Cup players and eerily human robots.
All are involved in shows that Microsoft’s new Xbox television studio plans to roll out starting in June. Led by former CBS Corp. executive Nancy Tellem, whom Microsoft hired 19 months ago to build a TV powerhouse from the ground up, the studio now has six series lined up – including a science-fiction thriller called “Humans” about humanoid robot workers – and more than a dozen projects in development.
But the software leader will face competition from an Internet giant – Yahoo.
The Sunnyvale company is currently shopping around for four original television series that it will start airing later this year, the Wall Street Journal reported. That step comes just five months after Katie Couric’s move to the website and is part of the company’s broader push into original video, which has even included reports of overtures to YouTube’s top producers.
Television is unfamiliar ground for Microsoft, which has zero experience in original TV programming and is wading into a crowded field where Netflix of Los Gatos and Amazon.com have generated hits such as “House of Cards.” Yet Microsoft is betting on the new studio to produce shows that will attract consumers to its Xbox game console, lure subscribers to its Xbox Live online service and eventually anchor a consumer home entertainment network that will tie the company’s devices together.
“TV, as the highest-reach form of entertainment you can find, is a critical part” of wooing consumers to Microsoft, said Phil Spencer, who was recently named head of the Xbox business.
The moves by Yahoo and Microsoft are just part of a larger erosion of the traditional TV audience.
The shrinking started in 2011 when Nielsen reported that the number of U.S. homes with television sets dropped for the first time in 20 years. As a result, the number of people who watched traditional TV programming, via broadcast or cable, started to decline as well. So far the decline has been slight but in a few years will probably pick up speed.
Last year, 86 percent of Americans had cable – down from 88 percent three years before. The premium cable channels have been hit the hardest: 32 percent of people subscribed to HBO, Showtime or Starz last year, down from 38 percent in 2012, according to NPD group. Meanwhile, the number of Netflix subscribers rose 24 percent, to 31.1 million people.
Yahoo’s shows will theoretically be ad-supported and available to people for free online, aligning it more closely with YouTube than, say, Netflix’s subscription-driven strategy. Also, Yahoo is looking for 10-episode comedy series with a per-episode cost that’s less than “a few million dollars,” as the Journal put it – or about the price of a regular network sitcom. That’s a deft move on Yahoo’s part: Audiences already have plenty of novelistic dramas, but what they can’t get online (as original content, anyway) is a new half-hour comedy.
Microsoft is pushing ahead with the original shows even as new Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella has yet to fully articulate his plans for the company’s consumer business. The company last month added an activist investor from ValueAct Holdings to its board who wants the company to shift its focus away from expensive consumer initiatives. The two top executives who began the programming effort – former Xbox chief Don Mattrick and CEO Steve Ballmer – are also gone.
Microsoft remains committed to the effort, Spencer said. Still, success for the Xbox television studio may be elusive as companies fight for consumers’ attention. Netflix released its first original show in 2012 and has now approved more than two dozen, while Amazon recently announced a $99 box for watching Web-delivered shows called Fire TV. Sony Corp.’s entertainment studio has said it will produce an original series, a drama called “Powers,” for the PlayStation Network.
“This is not an easy business,” said Tellem, who oversaw network entertainment at CBS between 1998 and 2009 when shows such as “CSI” and “Survivor” became hits. “There’s a huge failure rate. You have to get up to the plate a lot. Hopefully, we can have a higher batting average than most, but it’s a long process.”
One way Tellem, who was also part of the team that debuted “Friends” and “ER,” plans to distinguish Microsoft is by adding interactive aspects to each show to make use of Xbox technology. Her first offerings are a street soccer reality show called “Every Street United” timed for the World Cup, as well as robot thriller “Humans” based on a Swedish series.
For “Every Street United,” users can unlock extra scenes and will have mini-games that can be played in each scene. “Humans” will offer ways to follow what happens to characters outside the show’s plot.
Unlike the critically lauded titles Netflix chooses by number-crunching its subscribers’ favorite actors and genres, Tellem said Microsoft’s marching orders are to focus on its gamer audience, typically males between 18 to 34 years old.
“We aren’t trying to find something that’s going to be accepted by the largest common denominator, which is what a lot of people in the business look for,” she said. “We’re focused on what we feel our audience on our platform wants.”
The company is taking the unusual step of only approving shows that can be combined with the interactive components to encourage users to engage across consoles, phones and tablets.
Dina Bass, Cliff Edwards and Claire Suddath are Bloomberg writers. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
NSA surveillance program reaches ‘into the past’ to retrieve, replay phone calls – The Washington Post
Been a while, hope you’re following my posts on twitter, drsandyr.
Had to say a few things about this recent revelation.
Are we shocked, really?
As Bruce Schneier, the leading ubergeek on privacy and security, says, it’s not surprising that this is being done, unfortunately’,”What’s interesting is that the capability exists to collect 100% of a country’s telephone calls, and the analysis tools are in place to search them.”
Indeed, and how good are these tools or is this disinformation?
Its ironic that when everyone is using free services, telling everyone what they read, watch, etc, that we are surprised by this, time to wake up to the nightmare.
Are Mobile Movies The Way of the Future? | Filmmakers, Film Industry, Film Festivals, Awards & Movie Reviews | Indiewire
Hi folks, so here we are, does the future of movies mean phone movies, or does the future of movies mean full employment for writers and content creators.Time will tell, won’t it.
Viacom v. Google could shape digital future
Lawsuit hinges on 1998 act protecting net copyrights; does YouTube qualify?
Kevin J. Delaney And Matthew Karnitschnig, Wall Street Journal
14 March 2007
The $1 billion question prompted by Viacom Inc.’s suing Google Inc. yesterday is how a 1998 law that was supposed to retrofit copyright protection for the digital future applies in the YouTube age.
While the suit was expected — Viacom in February publicly accused Google of copyright infringement — it raises the stakes in the running scuffle between Google’s YouTube and media companies over copyright clips posted by users to the video-sharing site without the consent of the clips’ owners. In the complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, Viacom seeks damages and an injunction against Google to stop the alleged infringement. The suit accuses YouTube of using technology to “willfully infringe copyrights on a huge scale … and profiting from the illegal conduct of others as well.”
Since the video-copyright spat intensified last year, YouTube has claimed it qualifies for protection from liability because it removes clips from its site when copyright holders ask. Such a procedure is outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, a landmark law that updated intellectual-property rights for the Internet and laid the groundwork for the widespread hosting and searching of content originating from ordinary users. The DMCA also contained important so-called safe-harbor clauses, provisions designed to protect access providers, search engines, Web-hosting services and others from liability for copyright claims if they met several conditions.
But now some legal experts say there is little consensus or precedent on how that protection applies to video-sharing sites like YouTube. The safe-harbor dispute could hinge on several key issues, such as the extent to which YouTube has direct knowledge of copyright clips posted on its site without permission and whether it profits directly from them.
The safe-harbor issue is at the core of several other pending copyright cases, including Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group’s suit against News Corp.’s MySpace.
Some lawyers say court decisions may have broad ramifications. “The DMCA safe harbor covers a lot of businesses, and it’s hard to see how you could go after YouTube without threatening all of the others,” says Fred von Lohmann, senior attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco.
The Viacom suit comes after failed discussions between the media company and Google over licensing content such as “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “Laguna Beach” for use on YouTube and indemnification of Google from copyright suits. Those talks fell apart by late last year amid disagreement over a number of issues, including how much Google might pay, say people familiar with the matter. Viacom in February publicly accused Google of profiting from copyright infringement; Viacom requested that YouTube remove more than 100,000 Viacom clips from its site.
Viacom says it decided to file suit because its request last month that YouTube remove Viacom clips failed to keep them off the site. As recently as yesterday, one of the most viewed videos on YouTube was one from “The Colbert Report,” owned by Viacom. The media company says it spends “tens of thousands of dollars” a month searching for its programming on YouTube so it can request its removal.
|A message notifies YouTube users that a clip of Viacom’s ‘Colbert Report’ has been removed.|
“It’s hard for us to believe that [Google] has any desire to protect our content,” said Viacom Chief Executive Philippe Dauman.
In its suit, Viacom alleges that the availability of copyright works on YouTube “is the cornerstone of [its] business plan.” Other major media companies are talking tough but appear less inclined to follow Viacom in filing a lawsuit, partly because they have existing partnerships with Google that they don’t want to jeopardize.
“Time is up for YouTube,” said Time Warner Inc. General Counsel Paul Cappuccio. “It’s no longer permissible for them to have unauthorized copyrighted material on there.”
But Time Warner, which has a deal with Google through its AOL unit, believes companies should reach a compromise. “We are still of the opinion that we can negotiate a business solution with YouTube that will efficiently identify and filter out unauthorized copyrighted works while also allowing us to license copyrighted works to them for a share of revenue,” Mr. Cappuccio said.
Many media executives think that the Viacom suit is part of an effort by the company to pressure Google into working out such a deal. Mr. Dauman has pledged to double Viacom’s digital revenue to $500 million this year, a goal that a YouTube pact would make it easier for him to reach.
Google lawyers contend that there is little ambiguity in the safe-harbor clauses’ protections for YouTube. “It is a relatively clear statute, and Web hosts in general have been confident their activity is not something that will subject them to copyright liability as long as they comply with the notice and takedown procedures outlined in the act,” said Alexander Macgillivray, a Google associate general counsel.
When the DMCA became law in 1998, it was an earlier age of the Internet where the principal legal preoccupations related to access providers, like AOL, and hosts of online forums, Web sites and simple search engines. But now with ubiquitous high-speed consumer Internet connections fueling an explosion of digital content and the growth of sites that host photos, video and music uploaded by consumers, the application of the DMCA safe harbor is in dispute.
In its complaint, Viacom signals clearly its belief that YouTube oversteps the protected activities: YouTube goes beyond just hosting users’ Web sites and “itself commits the infringing duplication, public performance and public display.”
“These provisions were tailored for AOL and their like because these services couldn’t know everything that was going on in their chat rooms,” said Mike Fricklas, Viacom’s general counsel. “YouTube is a different business.” Google supporters say YouTube’s actions simply reflect the evolution of what an Internet company does and that protections intended for Web hosts in general should apply.
Legal experts say the main points of contention also include how much knowledge the Internet companies have of specific examples of infringement. Viacom in its suit contends it can be impossible to look at YouTube without seeing specific examples of infringement, copyright video clips uploaded by users.
Mr. Macgillivray declined to comment on that, saying it was one of the issues under litigation. But the video site has in the past contended that it doesn’t examine individual videos and that it is often nearly impossible to know whether a video is infringing or not, since media companies sometimes upload the clips themselves. Google has said it plans to introduce automated systems for identifying copyright content.
Under one interpretation of the safe-harbor clauses, the video sites lose their protection when they start making money from the infringement, which is arguably happening as they begin to add advertising. Google and YouTube “profit handsomely from the infringement,” Viacom says in its complaint.
YouTube has anticipated such an issue and doesn’t display ads on pages where consumers can actually view videos unless it has an agreement with the content owner. But advertising does appear on pages listing results users see when they search for videos on YouTube.
Source: Wall Street Journal