Good morning. It's Wednesday, September 19, 2012, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
Google announced that over 600 film and TV titles from Twentieth Century Fox will soon be available to rent or purchase on YouTube and Google Play. Right now, Ridley Scott's sci-fi thriller Prometheus is available on both platforms, three weeks before its scheduled release on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD. Google says over the next few weeks, consumers in the US will have the ability to rent or purchase Fox film titles such as X-Men, Ice Age, and Black Swan, and TV shows like Family Guy, Glee, Modern Family, and New Girl. Other countries will receive the same access "soon." This means Google/YouTube now has deals with all six major film studios, along with a number of independent studios, to offer their film and television programming online and on Android-powered mobile devices.
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Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly plan to square off against each other in a 90-minute debate that will be live streamed online. Dubbed "The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium," the event will begin at 8pm ET on October 6, live from the Lisner Auditorium at The George Washington University. Per the site, "O'Reilly and Stewart will take an entertaining and comedic approach to today's pressing political issues in an attempt to find the best direction for America." The Rumble is available for pre-order right now for $4.95 (a half of the net profits will go to charity). Those who pre-order before October 6 will be allowed to submit questions, which the two might answer during the debate.
Rescue Me, the critically acclaimed FX series that finished its run a year ago, will be available on Sony Pictures' free ad-supported streaming service, Crackle, beginning October 1. The show, which stars Denis Leary as a NYC firefighter, will be released in its entirety by the end of March 2013. However, it's following a monthly distribution plan that will see a new season (or two) replace an older season (or two) every month through March 2013.Here are the timeframes for the rollout:
As part of E!'s annual coverage of the Primetime Emmy® Awards, E! Online will live stream the channel's entire red carpet special and offer other interactive features such as polls via its recently launched TV Scoop section. The online stream will be hosted by Alicia Quarles and Kristin Dos Santos beginning at 6pm ET.
Variety is reporting that an expiring licensing agreement between A+E Networks and Netflix could result in the online video service losing unscripted hit shows from channels like A&E and History. The interesting thing is that Variety's sources can't even agree on where the companies are in the deal-making process. According to some sources, Netflix believes it has already finished a deal that would see the service lose roughly 40 series and miniseries (a total of 800 hours of content), but still keep around 200-300 hours of content. Other sources say no deal has been reached and the two sides plan on returning to the table later this week. "We renew programming that proves successful and generates viewing among our members and we expire those programs that do not," said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer at Netflix, in a statement to Variety. "While we do not comment on our deals and partnerships, expect some of the A&E and History programming to drop and some to remain on Netflix."
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Facebook is testing a new mobile ad-serving product that has nothing to do with its own mobile apps. According to a TechCrunch report, this "mobile ad network" is designed to deliver ads to third-party mobile apps and mobile websites based on anonymous user data such as age, gender, location, "Likes," and other targeting options that are available through the social giant's online ads marketplace. Facebook is currently working with a select group of ad exchanges to serve these ads. Basically when a user visits a mobile app or website that works with one of these partner ad exchanges and allows users to authenticate with Facebook, the social network can send a targeted ad if an advertiser has set a bid on that type of user.
Butter Studios is a newly launched brand marketing production company headed by Bonnie Stone as CEO, Kory Jones as Executive Producer, and Matt Stone as Creative Director. Stone's resume includes executive media sales roles at Turner Broadcasting, Zillion TV, FOX Sports, UPN, and CBS; Jones is a two-time Emmy winner and Founder of the visual effects shop Reality Check Studios; Stone is a veteran of network, commercial, and music video productions. The company says its services range from design, animation (2D and 3D), and directing, through brand marketing strategy and consulting, to live action and digital production.
T3Media, a provider of cloud-based video management and licensing services has signed an exclusive deal with the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) organization to digitize its library of footage from current and past events. This content will then be made available to ad agencies, as well as sports, TV, and film producers, to search, preview, and license through T3Media's Footage Licensing website. Types of videos include 8-second clips of rides and wrecks along; an array of behind-the-scenes competition footage; and B-roll of fans, event cities, and arenas from across the US, Australia, Brazil, Canada, and Mexico.
On the one-year anniversary of Netflix's Qwikster debacle, a new report from The NPD Group says that one in four US households now subscribe to Netflix. In addition, 58% of Netflix customers only subscribe to its streaming service, while 12% only subscribe to the physical disc option, and 30% do both.Considering how Netflix in the past year has placed an almost singular focus on streaming, believing that it's the future of how audiences watch movies and TV shows (in fact, it was one of the reasons for its ill-fated attempt at splitting Netflix into two), these numbers should serve as good support. Other interesting findings include:
A new report from Juniper Research projects ad spend on mobile web search to hit $12 billion annually by 2017. If so, it would be three times the ad spend in 2012, which Juniper says will reach $4 billion. The analyst firm points to the continued adoption of tablets as the main driver of this growth in web search over the next five years. In fact, Juniper forecasts that the number of tablet devices that will be in use by 2017 will reach 672 million. But why tablets? According to Juniper, the size of tablet displays (usually either 7-inch or 10-inch) makes it easier to perform searches. Plus, tablets are generally used when consumers are at home or at work, and for longer periods of time, which means they are like to perform more searches per session. Juniper's findings support these reasons, as the report shows that on average tablet users make around three times as many search queries as smartphone owners.
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CBS Interactive has launched a second-screen iPad app tied to NCIS: Los Angeles. Called "NCIS: Los Angeles Connect," it's the network's first show-specific iPad app, which will allow fans to sync with live or on-demand episodes from the coming season in order access additional content, such as videos, photos, and evidence from the crime lab (offering a longer look at something that may only appear on screen for a second). Other features include behind-the-scenes access for each episode and a spotlight on the technology the characters use during their investigations, as well as stuff like character back-stories, interactive maps, quizzes, and polls. On the social front, NCIS: Los Angeles Connect uses the CBS Connect platform to allow users the ability to interact with each other and the cast via Twitter or Facebook, all from within the app. Season 4 of NCIS: Los Angeles begins September 25 at 9pm ET/PT.
Livestream is making its suite of live video and live blogging tools available for free to all users. The suite includes encoding software for Mac and PC, ad-free event pages, and mobile broadcasting to the web from the Livestream for Producers iPhone app. The company also announced that it's going ad-free, eliminating banner ads, pre-roll and mid-roll video from its streaming platform. "Everyone knows that videos wrapped with banners ad pre-roll ruin the viewer experience, especially with live events where you can miss the moments that matter most," said Livestream Co-Founder and CEO Max Haot. "After looking at our ad-supported pages and player and realizing they looked like a MySpace page from five years ago, I knew we needed to do something to better our customers' experience." The iPhone app allows users to share events in real-time on Livestream.com while simultaneously having the ability to post text updates, photos, and video clips. The company says an Android version will be released soon.
Netflix has released a new version of its iPhone/iPod Touch app, which looks to upgrade the browsing experience for users. New features on the home screen include a row at the top that allows users to resume watching an episode or movie from where they previously left off. Right underneath that is the user's top 10 list, below which is their Instant Queue. Further down, Netflix offers several rows of personalized movie and TV show recommendations. The user interface has also been updated to allow users to tap any title just once in order to get additional information for that title, and twice to instantly begin watching it. Compatible with iOS versions 5.0 and above, Netflix says it will soon offer a version that works with the iPhone 5's larger screen. An Android version is also in the works.
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Squrl is a mobile video discovery service that is available for free on iOS devices, as well as on Apple TV via AirPlay. It allows users to find and watch videos from an array of popular content sources, including heavyweights such as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Vimeo, AOL, and Blip.tv.Yesterday, the app announced a slew of upgrades to give its video discovery capabilities a boost. These upgrades include:
Later - Sahil
Sahil Patel, Associate Editor for Cynopsis Digital
Denise O'Connor: Group Publisher, Media Entertainment
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