Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom presented a keynote and interview at the Dublin Web Summit last week, and offered some insights into his experiences in the online video space. He mentioned that when he launched Joost, an online TV portal, in 2007 he quickly found out that it is “pretty much impossible to start an online company [video] and to have the licenses”. “The timing was right,” he said, mentioning that Hulu and other online sites popped up around the same time as Joost. Joost did not survive long, however – by the end of 2008 the company shut down its application-based service, and in 2009 sold its assets. What Zennstrom did not discuss in his interview is his move back into the online video space with Vdio, but instead the music licensing company which he co-founded, Rdio. He indicated that part of Rdio’s success is owing to the company’s tenacious efforts to form licensing partnerships with content owners. In his keynote above, you can hear Zennstrom’s advice for internet entrepreneurs. A video of his interview can be found here: http://new.livestream.com/channels/58/videos/4072
Is the latest version of Google TV the latest and greatest in television aggregation? The internet search giant is edging into the tv space at break-neck speed as it seeks not only to fine-tune its viewing platform and proprietary recommendation engine, but also to generate content for its upcoming streaming channels. The company’s production efforts via YouTube, which include partnerships with showrunners and writers with strong track records, are likely to make waves in the television industry, and have a greater impact than did the release of the first generation of Google TV. Youtube is getting set to launch 100 channels with professionally produced content.
Consumers aren’t dropping their cable subscriptions in droves, as many tv industry analysts had warned they might. Instead the New York Times reports, “the vast majority of American households are still paying for television subscriptions and watching most video that way.”
Following the Comcast-NBC merger in early 2011, it was announced that NBC was looking for non-profit news partners. This week, NBC has announced that it is making a major investment in local news across 10 stations, hiring 130 staff members to increase the output of NBC’s local news divisions. In addition, New York and other markets will receive new investigative and consumer units.
Time Warner is looking to cut down on excess spending and heavily invest in content, which includes its television shows, movies, sports and news that drive revenue. Via New York Times.
The FCC’s new Connect America Fund of up to 4.5 billion will be used to help bring high-speed internet connectivity to communities with limited connections across the country.
On October 15th, the Creator’s Project came to Brooklyn. The event was an art and technology festival sponsored by Intel and Vice Media which featured musical performances from DJs and indy groups, installations, and film/video screenings. The mission was to bring together art works by young people that use new technology. The atmosphere was buzzing, and the variety of offerings, split across a number of different venues in DUMBO, made exploring the project an adventure. For a clear view of what was on offer over the weekend, take a look at the video above.
WNET President-Emeritus Bill Baker hosted the 9th annual Giants of Broadcasting ceremony on October 14th. The ceremony paid homage to thirteen “media giants” who transformed the broadcasting industry over a span of seven decades. The luncheon was held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, where guests wined and dined while enjoying celebratory montages and acceptance speeches.
Honorees included Brian Williams, Christiane Amanpour, Fred Pierce, Charles Kralt, Robert Northshield, Charles Osgood, Rand Morrison, John Dille III, Brian Lamb, Frances Preston, James Arness, Rick Buckley, and Dawson ‘Tack’ Nail.
While most honorees spoke of their past achievements, current ABC international correspondent Christiane Amanpour discussed her hopes for the future of broadcasting. “I do hope in the future that we see many more women on the screen, and that there is a balance between men and women,” she said. “I would like to see the day where women were not judged by the amount of highlights in their hair, not judged by the shortness of their hemlines or deeply plunging cleavages, but [judged] for their professionalism, competence, and the quality of their work.”
The ceremony acknowledged that broadcasting is still relevant. The awards honored media entrepreneurs of the past alongside broadcasting icons of the present. The late James Arness and Dawson ‘Tack’ Nail were commemorated for paving the way for twenty-first century journalism. Meanwhile, CBS anchor Charles Osgood and NBC correspondent Brian Williams continue to make waves in modern day broadcasting.
The ceremony was sponsored by the Library of American Broadcasting, which acts to preserve historical records from past television and radio broadcasts. Their ultimate goal is to “make records available to a wide audience of academia, industry, and the public, while simultaneously keeping a weather eye on the future”. The luncheon is the Library’s biggest fundraising event of the year.
This video was produced by my students at Juilliard. Their goal: to bring classical music to a 20th century art form, the music video, on a 21st century platform, the internet. Notably, their production was financed through Kickstarter, a crowd-funding website which helps bring together donors and artists seeking funding for their projects.
The New York Times reported earlier in October that the Met has recently seen “a record amount of contributions for the fiscal year that ended in July.” The recent successes of the institution, including its HD broadcasts which reach 1,600 theaters in 54 countries, are in part owing to Gelb’s “‘effort to democratize opera’” as the Met seeks to reach new audiences. Read more at nytimes.com
News publications continue to blur the lines between newspapers, web, and television. The Daily Beast is adding ‘Daily Beast TV’, an online talk show, to its output. More at AdWeek.
The Nieman Lab has provided a nice update on the uptick in paywalls and platforms for subscriptions, such as Apple’s ‘newsstand’ in its new operating system. Notably, one startup in Slovakia, Piano Media, already has publishers distributing their subscriptions through a common paywall.
Sitcoms are making a comeback on network television. With viewer numbers down in the 18-49 demographic across all networks except Fox, one area of growth is in comedy programming. Via The Altantic
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a statement discouraging young children from using electronic media. Meanwhile, a new study from Common Sense Media reports that between 40-50% of children regularly use new mobile devices such as smart phones, iPads, and iPods. More at Washington Post
What impact are tablets having on news consumption? Some have touted the tablet as a savior of the publishing and newspaper industries, and the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s study of tablet users and their news consumption habits indicates that the written word is very much still popular with news readers, young and old. The in-depth, comprehensive study is available on their site, journalism.org
Can the creators of Skype challenge Netflix’s muscle in the online streaming market? Their attempt at revolutionizing television in 2007 with Joost – a web-based tv platform, failed to take off due to a lack of premium content. Although the market is growing crowded with powerhouses Amazon and Youtube increasing their offerings by the day, Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis seem to be betting that they can offer something new with their service, Vdio, which will launch first in the UK. Stay tuned.
According to Andy Rubin, Google’s Senior Vice President, the internet giant will soon offer access to premium media and music on its Android operating system, in direct competition with Apple.
Last night, PBS premiered the first of five-parts of Women, War and Peace, a series in part featuring Liberian peace advocate and women’s rights leader Leymah Gbowee. The series seeks to “challenge the aesthetics of war” by exposing the reality of a woman’s role during warfare. The premiere comes just days after news of Gbowee’s 2011 Nobel Peace Prize win for her nonviolent role in promoting peace, democracy, and gender equality.
At this year’s Celebration of Teaching and Learning, Gbowee talked about her peace efforts with project creator Abigail Disney and educator Colm Macahon. During a panel Gbowee specifically addressed the need to “challenge the media’s image of African women and women in conflicts around the world.”, and to use media to form a bridge from remote communities to the rest of the world, encouraging new ideas, thoughts and perspectives.
Gbowee shares the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize along with other two other women, Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf and Yemen peace-maker Tawakkol Karman. Gbowee told the New York Times that their win is “finally a recognition that we can’t ignore the other half of the world’s population. We cannot ignore their unique skills.”
New York City Center will reopen on October 25th. The $75 million renovations allow for more comfortable seating, better sight lines, and extravagant restorations. Via DNAinfo.com.
Experimentation continues with premium video on demand as studios plan to release ‘Tower Heist’ on VOD three weeks after its theatrical release – for 59.99. The hefty price tag for viewing the early release tops recent efforts by operators to shave time off of the post-theatrical window. Earlier this year, studios entered into agreements with cable operators to offer a select number of films on VOD for 30 dollars beginning 60 days after their theatrical run. Whether consumers will be willing to pay such a high price to watch a movie at home is a major test for the film industry, which is setting a new course as the DVD market shrinks and the studio-backed ultra violet digital locker system is rolled out. UPDATE: Universal has canceled its plans for the experimental release, via THR.
Time Warner and Vivendi have placed bids on Polish broadcaster TVN. TVN’s parent company, ITI Group, is seeking the sale of its controlling 56% stake in the broadcaster.
A new report from Digital TV Research indicates that global online tv and video revenues are expected to grow “more than five fold” their current levels by 2016.
The Federal Communications Commission is trying to encourage more Americans to use high speed Internet. In collaboration with various private companies, the FCC plans to offer free computer training to individuals in disadvantaged communities.