Category Archives: Entertainment

netneutistockfeature1-e1293050143472While trying to feverishly watch season 2 of House of Cards, I’ve noticed a few spinning rainbows via my AppleTV. What’s up? I tend to blame my Internet connection, but in reality it seems like there’s some nefarious “auto slowdown” occurring. It seems like Netflix is having a conflict with Verizon and other broadband providers over how much content should be carried without additional fees. Netflix complains that they’ve encountered a 14% slowdown in average speeds. The Wall Street Journal is reporting on the conflict between the two titans, but they’re telling us that Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, have already begun paying broadband providers for smoother access to their networks, which leaves Netflix kind of flapping in the wind complaining about tiered access.

The war around the idea of “net neutrality” is heating up as consumers move away from traditional TV and focus more on “binge watching” and a la carte watching via Netflix, Hulu, Google Play, iTunes and other streaming and/or subscription services. Just last month, a court ruled in favor of Verizon’s suit to block the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules, which has spurred chaos among the providers and content creators as more people consume more high-definition video. To add fire to the furnace, Netflix is more than likely very interested in the upcoming federal review of Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable, and may push for new requirements on traffic-swapping deals. As we move forward into the unknown waters of “tiered Internet access” it’s going to be more and more about who pays what: the content creators and/or their customers.

cashIt seems like streaming services are all the rage lately. Beats just released their app (known mostly for headphones, the company bought MOG, and re-branded it) which gives you unlimited downloads and access across 10 devices for $14.99 a month. Spotify has now removed the limit to the number of songs subscribers on the free plan can access each month, as well. So the services are upping the ante by trying feverishly to differentiate themselves. Beats is adding a human element by bringing curators to the service instead of a computer algorithm to help you discover songs/artists you like. Spotify is stressing its social utilities and focusing on playlists based on your mood.

To carve out market share, the streaming services have offered subscriptions at a ridiculously low price: $9.99 a month on average, or even better discounts if you buy a year’s worth in advance. The paradigm shift for the general public has been moving from “owning” songs to “renting” them. While the streaming services seem to be taking hold, there’s new research that shows they can never be profitable. According to the report, the number of streaming users will balloon to 1.7 billion by 2017, up from 767 million in 2013.  Paid subscribers will leap to 125 million, up from 36 million currently. It seems like the labels are the culprits: taking 70% of the profits for themselves in royalties. On top of that, the freemium model that Spotify has adopted is convincing consumers that music is a commodity, and not really worth paying for. And, of course, there’s the controversy with what the artists are actually being paid.

As the services evolve, they’re going to have to figure out a revenue model that allows for scalability. And consumers, at some point, are going to have to pay up.

With smartphones and gadgets like Google Glass grabbing all the headlines, what some of us realize is the vast wasteland of bad reality shows, over-hyped sports events, and sensational specials we call TV is about to undergo a transformation that will forever end the viewing experience as you know it. And although tech companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft have been fiddling around with their idea of how to change TV for a few years now, it’s the big networks and pay television providers that are finally making some decisions to move TV land forward. What’s driving this change? Three biggies:

1. Viewers’ increasing multi-screen behavior — now their TV is just one screen in a world of many. People often watch TV while multi-tasking with their tablet or smartphone. More and more, people want to carry their TV shows with them, and continue watching from different locations.

2. TV execs have realized that you will actually pay for digital content. Paywalls on some online news sites such as the New York Times and revenue on iTunes and other digital marketplaces have shown the money guys that you will actually hand over your hard-earned dough for content. So, they will soon end free broadcast TV. You can start the death countdown now. Viewership on broadcast TV is at its lowest ever Pokies, down from 69% in 1993 to 42% this year, according to Nielsen.

3. Small startups like Aereo have begun to offer free access to broadcast TV over the Internet, and are winning court cases to stay alive.

After Aereo got a reprieve from a federal judge, News Corp is now considering going to cable only. And now, Intel is trying to design a new online TV service that will let you control more of your viewing experience.

The coming transformation of TV promises to offer you:

–De-bundling so you don’t have to pay huge monthly fees for just the few channels you actually watch.

–Easier discoverability through better interfaces

–Smarter content relevant to your viewing history

–Easier and more affordable subscription options

Of course, everyone is waiting for what Apple will do with its rumored TV. Will they just make hardware, or are they going full-on with hardware and content?

What all this says is there is no business model for TV right now. Programmers are unwilling to hand-over rights for online TV because they don’t know what to charge for it. But they know they don’t want to end up like the music industry when Napster came along, so they’re scrambling. Either way, you win. TV will transform based on the way you want to consume it. Stay tuned!

Big news this week in the area of watching TV on your mobile device.

The first announcement is that HBOGo, the app that streams HBO programming to your iPhone and iPad, is finally compatible with AirPlay. This means you can take that HBO show with you to a friend’s house and, from your iDevice, watch it on your large TV screen via an Apple TV. Boardwalk Empire just got a lot more accessible to those without HBO. Support for Airplay is also now available for Cinemax’s MAX Go app.

According to All Things D, HBO’s Eric Kessler said they also intend to “get on Apple TV” directly jennifer anniston pokies, although a timeline for that is unknown.

Lifetime, A&E and History Channel have updated apps.

Additionally, A&E, History Channel, and Lifetime have all updated their iOS apps (iPhone and iPad) to stream their top programming to iDevices for free. The apps include syncing with iCloud, allowing you to pick up where you left off as you move from device to device.

The apps and content are free, although if you sign in using a Comcast Xfinity account, you’ll receive more behind-the-scenes footage.

The new apps do not yet support AirPlay, but 9TO5 Mac reports that feature is in the works.

 

For me, the biggest part of any Super Bowl is usually the commercials. I remember the year of Pets.com, along with a lot of others, where the bigger the ad and the investment, the bigger the impact. Of course, pets.com died a quick death after that, as the bubble burst for everyone. This year, the advertisers expect you to be multi-tasking the game, with your head in your mobile device or laptop just as often as you’re staring at the larger screen.

This year, advertisers are taking quite a different tact in their Super Bowl ads. Not only are they releasing ads ahead of the game on YouTube and client web sites, but they’re integrating social media into the campaign. According to Ad Age, Audi of America believes that “chatter  about Super Bowl ads begins to fade between 24 and 48 hours after the game is over.” Therefore, if you release the ad early, you’ll get more bang for your buck – a longer tail of discussion.

I’m not so sure. I prefer being surprised by the ad during the Super Bowl. I think the surprise maximizes the impact.

Here’s a list of some of the ad buys, their release dates, and their integration into social media (courtesy of Ad Age):

 - Anheuser-Busch got a twitter account for the first time on January 28. One of their ads, with the Clydesdales, will feature a foal. A-B has been soliciting names for the foal on Twitter.
- Audi posted three versions of its potential ad, each with a different ending, and let fans vote on which version they’d like to see run in the Super Bowl. The final spot appeared on YouTube on Jan. 27.
- Kia and Hyundai both pre-released their ads this week as well. Although I’m trying to avoid pre-released ads, I saw a space panda in a clip for Kia’s and I’ve since watched it. It’s hormone hgh damned cute.
- Axe pre-released their ad on Jan 28 and is running a contest (online of course) for some lucky group to fly into space.
- Coca-Cola released their ad on Jan 28. The ad features a contest, or game. In the ad, three teams are racing to get a Coke. The ad ends on a cliffhanger and viewers vote online for their favorite team. The ad featuring the “winning” team will air immediately after the Super Bowl.
- As usual, Dorito’s ran a contest for viewers to submit ads, with the winning ad appearing in the big game.
- Go Daddy has one ad that they’re keeping a secret and one that was released on Jan 25.
- Lincoln, of all brands, has an ad that incorporates ideas solicited by Jimmy Fallon via Twitter.
- Oreo, celebrating their 100th anniversary, is releasing an ad that shows fans of cookie vs filling. The neat thing (other than being a 100-year old brand)? They’re including a campaign on Instagram as well.
- Pepsi has been asking customers to submit photos and those will be used in a spot. Additionally, you’ll be able to sign up online to get a free soda.
- RIM, er, Blackberry has their first ad. According to Ad Age, “A social-media campaign to run alongside commercial will include promoted posts on Twitter and sponsored stories on Facebook.”
- Toyota is running an ad with Kaley Cuoco as a genie. The ad features a photo of a consumer chosen from an Instagram and Twitter campaign using the hash tag #wishgranted.
- Disney Pictures is running a spot highlighting the new Oz: The Great and Powerful film. After the commercial airs, one of the witches from the film will overtake the Disney web site.
- Wonderful Pistachios is running an ad featuring Psy. Fans can upload a photo of them getting “crackin’ Gangnam Style” with pistachios and potentially win a 12-month lease of a new Mercedes Benz.

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