Good morning, it's Tuesday, August 30, 2011, and this is your first early morning digital briefing. If you would like to read this or any other Cynopsis edition online, click here.
Apple has discontinued its TV episode rental service on iTunes. The service was introduced last fall and offered customers the opportunity to rent episodes of their favorite TV shows for a limited time. Wanting to see if such a service could drive sales for the Apple TV product, the company sold episodes for $1.99 to $2.99. While sales have not been down, the experiment was not able to change consumer behavior, in regards to the manner in which they consume televised content, as Apple had originally hoped. In response to the results of Apple's experiment, News Corp., which owns the Fox Network, said, "It became clear that content ownership is a more attractive long-term value proposition both for iTunes customers and for our business." As a result, News Corp. and Apple are working together to make TV shows available on iTunes via the Cloud, a new online service that stores content online to make it more portable.
During his speech at the Edinburgh television festival, Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt maintained that Google is "absolutely committed to staying, to improving Google TV." He went on to elaborate that Google expects to add more partners, joining the existing partnerships with Sony and Logitech.
MasterImage 3D has developed a glasses-free 3D screen that provides a bright, clear 3D image that shifts to a 2D image if you move your head too far to either side. According to MobileBeat, the company has patented its "cell matrix parallax barrier" technology and will offer it for smartphones and tablets.
Tapit uses near field technology (NFC) to work with marketers and companies to send mobile advertisements to, and share content with, consumers. Users simply have to tap the startup's logo on their NFC-enabled phones to receive media and promotions. The Sydney-based company has raised a seed funding round from Sydney Angels.
Consumer Watchdog says that the current self-regulatory privacy program offered by online advertisers is not adequate protection for consumers from behavioral tracking and targeting. It argues that the "Do Not Track Me" option is only a limited privacy feature that allows consumers to block targeted ads from participating companies. In fact, they are not notified before tracking begins, the choice of opting out only remains until the consumer clears out his/her cookies, it only applies to companies that participate and is not even offered on mobile devices. In short, it doesn't do nearly enough.
Inc. Magazine ranks Spongecell, an interactive display advertising company, as 76th on its annual ranking of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. The award is in recognition of Spongecell's three-year sales growth of 3,064%.
Verizon has purchased CloudSwitch, Inc. in hopes of putting its feet in the cloud computing movement. The move follows the company's purchase of Terremark Worldwide, Inc., an operator of data centers, earlier this year.
Savtira Corporation, a business-to-business Cloud Commerce SaaS startup, has tapped Oakwood Systems Group, Inc. to help bring its eStores to a wide range of devices including smartphones, tablets, computers, digital TVs and even connected cars. Savtira's eStores and its clients' custom-branded eStores sell and distribute digital and physical goods. The startup's Web 3.0 platform includes "Entertainment Distribution Network," a service that streams all digital media from the cloud to any device. It allows you to pause something you're watching on one device and resume it on another.
Montana's Beartooth NBC will use NVerzion's digital broadcasting and television station automation technology to streamline broadcast operations for its NBC affiliate stations. It will make it easier to receive and air content from the station's multiple sources, including NBC, CW and Pathfire. The move also enables smoother transitions between programming and commercial content, reducing the prospect of missing feeds from the network. Each Beartooth NBC station has the ability to air commercial content targeted towards its unique markets.
As prospective buyers seek to assess Hulu's value and viability for growth, VideoNuze notes that the site's performance in terms of viewership and monetization over the past year will be important. On that front, the company has maintained flat viewership numbers within a tight range from the previous year. Meanwhile, monetization has increased as the number of ads served on the site has gone up from 800 million per month to one billion per month. However, those ad numbers have stayed around that mark since the jump.
The number of Indian pay-TV subscribers has surpassed 100 million; it represents more than 70% of television households in the country. According to a research by Digital TV Research, and reported by Variety, the number will also increase to 139 million by 2016 while pay television revenues will double to $8 billion in the same timeframe.
Wi-Fi and broadband services providers are driving the growth in the hotspot market by using it as a competitive differentiator and enhancer to their service offering. According to a new In-Stat study, hotspot usage will increase to 120 billion connects worldwide in 2015. Other findings include:
A Forrester Research report forecasts that, within the next five years, online advertising will overtake television advertising. By 2016, advertisers will spend $77 billion onlinetaking up 35% of overall ad spending. The report also notes a lot of changes that are in store for the online advertising industry, including:
Seesmic, a social application that lets you monitor and track the social web through an integrated platform, will launch an Android and iPad app that will bring Salesforce's CRM product to mobile devices. Called "Seesmic CRM," the Android app will be launched today while the iPad version will be available in a couple of weeks.
Zynga co-founder, Andrew Trader, will come on at venture capital firm Maveron as a Partner. While already an Entrepreneur-in-Residence, this announcement indicates a more expanded role for Trader within the firm. The firm's portfolio includes Groupon, eBay, Shutterfly and SAY Media.
Samsung has hired Raymond Wah, HP's ex-Vice President of Marketing, to be in charge of the company's PC sales. The hiring is increasing speculation that the company is planning to take over HP's PC business overall.
By now you and everyone you know have at least heard of the pulpy and bloody masterpiece that is HBO's adaptation of George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones. Most of you, like me, probably got introduced to the show before the books. Most of you, like me, probably need a little help managing and understanding the intricate relationships, numerous characters and complex plots going on in the story. With all of that in mind, here is the " Game of Thrones Companion." The app, available for $3.99 in the iTunes App Store, is a comprehensive resource for you to keep at your side as you navigate the epic series' labyrinthine plot. It provides information on plot, characters, houses, maps and best of all, it's spoiler-free! You can change the settings so that you are only given information up to your specified point in the story. So if you've been daunted by the sheer weight of the voluminous series, this is the perfect app for you. So get to it! But don't ruin anything; I'm only 300 pages in to A Clash of Kings. Seriously, these things are heavy.
Later - Sahil
Sahil Patel, Access Intelligence, filling in for Wayne Karrfalt for Cynopsis: Digital. 08.26.11
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