Representatives of the media and technology industries testified Tuesday before a Senate committee about the future of Internet video and free television services. The hearing brought together executives from Microsoft and Amazon, as well as IAC/InterActive's chairman, Barry Diller, to answer questions on topics such as data caps, Net neutrality and the appropriate regulatory response to online and mobile video.
The fight for dominance in the digital living room was once expected to be between Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3, but those consoles may be losing out as home media hubs to Blu-ray disc players and Internet-connected television sets, according to panelists at a conference in Los Angeles. Consoles now need to be able to handle live TV in addition to video streaming, according to Robert Tercek, president of General Creativity.
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The costs of international expansion and dwindling returns on high-margin DVD rentals helped tip Netflix to a first-quarter loss despite higher revenues. Netflix, which is focusing its attention on its streaming business, lost more than 1 million DVD subscribers during the quarter.
AOL says it will deliver video programming, including seven original shows, over a single platform that will be available on a variety of connected devices and Web TVs. The AOL On Network will draw on content from partners including The Huffington Post, TechCrunch and Engadget on 14 genre-specific channels in areas such as food, business, style, tech, travel and health.
Media pundits took to Twitter this week to debate a proposition by Reuters blogger Felix Salmon that The New York Times could draw profits from its scoops -- such as a recent story on allegations of bribery involving Wal-Mart Mexico -- if it offered early access to these stories, for a fee. While some commentators think premium access would be a great way for the paper to further monetize its content, Mathew Ingram writes that such a move would undermine the paper's public-service legacy and could ultimately harm its credibility.
NBC Universal's Syfy is already warming up advertisers to product-integration deals for the 2013 network series called "Defiance," in which multiplayer online gaming will intermingle with the TV show's plot. "Syfy is pushing past linear TV and showing there's a bigger environment for advertisers outside the one screen," Mindshare managing director Ellen Ferrari said.
TV ads in Britain will be rendered interactive for mobile devices by Shazam under an exclusive distribution agreement with broadcaster ITV. The accord expands the service offered by Shazam for TV in the U.S., where many advertisers on "American Idol," the Super Bowl and other TV fare have had their ads enabled for mobile devices by Shazam.
More than half of marketers employed video for content marketing in 2011, catching up to print, website and e-mail tactics, according to the Custom Content Council and ContentWise. That trend should continue, with 54% of North American marketers planning to use more video content this year.
Google re-entered the smartphone direct-sales channel on Tuesday, introducing on its website an unlocked version of Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Nexus phone. The move comes two years after it tried in vain to sell its own device online. Google is charging $399 for the phone; consumers can buy AT&T or T-Mobile SIM cards to use the Galaxy Nexus or pay $200 to purchase the handset from Verizon Wireless or Sprint Nextel under a two-year contract.
U.K. broadband provider BT has invited rival ISPs that are members of the so-called next-generation access group to take part in fiber-to-the-premises trials in six communities ahead of a nationwide pilot program scheduled to launch May 21. The rollout of BT's "ultrafast" FTTP service is part of the company's investment in broadband infrastructure in the U.K. that a report from Regeneris Consulting says could bring thousands of jobs to Scotland alone over the next 15 years.
Although we recognize that our customers want to watch a variety of high-quality video content at affordable prices from the comfort of their homes, we also realize that they are on the move, and thus they want access to digital video not just anytime, but also anywhere.