Concurrent goes Hollywood

I’ll be traveling to Los Angeles the week of May 1st to attend the Variety Entertainment & Technology Summit and the Digital Hollywood conference, co-located at the Ritz-Carleton in Marina Del Ray May 2-5.

I’ll be speaking on a panel at Digital Hollywood on Wednesday, May 4, on over-the-top video and connected devices. Session details are below. Stop by if you’re in town.

Over the Top Video – TV, iPad – Tablet – SmartPhone – PC – Connecting into the Future

Wednesday, May 4th
10:45 AM – Noon
Track III: ViDeo-18, TV-2011-17

Colleen Brown, CEO, Fisher Communications, Inc.
Eric Anderson, VP Content and Product Solutions, Samsung
David Strehlow, Director of Marketing, Media Solutions, Huawei Consumer Software
Scott Fierstein, Senior Director, Interoperability Policy and Standards, Microsoft
Paul Sweeting, founder and principal, Concurrent Media Strategies
Michael Alexander, Strategy & Growth Initiatives, IBM Global Telecommunications Industry
James M. Burger, Attorney at Law, Dow Lohnes, Moderator


Netflix: It’s not about the cord

Over-The-Top Video Netflix is often credited (or blamed, depending on your perspective) for inspiring cable cord-cutting by cable and satellite subscribers, but don’t tell Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

“While Netflix is likely to show huge growth again this year, we think MVPD cord cutting will be minimal to non-existent,” Hastings said in his letter to shareholders regarding the company’s Q1 earnings yesterday. “We hear some stories from customers who have Netflix and no MVPD service, but these are generally people who rely on free broadcast TV (which is now in HD) and supplement with Netflix, rather than switching from MVPD to online.”

His evidence? Read More »

Disney in the cloud with DivX

It hasn’t received much attention in the U.S., but in France this week, Disney announced perhaps the most aggressive move yet by a major studio to embrace both cloud-based media lockers and cross-platform interoperability. Two new services, called Disneytek and abctek, will allow Freebox ISP subscribers in France (currently about 4.5 million subs) to purchase Disney and ABC movies and TV shows through their Freebox TV set-top device and store them permanently in the cloud.

In addition to being able to watch the content on their TV via streaming, subscribers also can download the movies and TV shows to a PC or Mac for storage and playback, and can further transfer them to up to five other DivX-certified devices (The DivX devices must first be registered online) via USB drive or SD card. Read More »

Doubling down on DRM

NAB The studios participating in the Home Premiere premium VOD launch are apparently undeterred by the threats of boycotts and other forms of retaliation by theater owners. According to Daily Variety, DirecTV will formally announce plans this week to begin offering movies to the home 60 days after their theatrical debut at $30 for a 48-hour rental. The first four titles available in the new window will be Sony’s “Just Go With It,” Fox’s “Cedar Rapids,” Warner Bros.’ “Hall Pass” and Universal’s “The Adjustment Bureau.”

While DirecTV will offer the movies nationwide, Comcast, Vudu and perhaps other cable MSOs will make them available in selected cities. Read More »

Pay-TV in a box

NAB One of the more intriguing companies to surface at the National Association of Broadcasters convention last week was Marion, Iowa-based Syncbak, a startup founded by serial entrepreneur Jack Perry that has been operating in stealth mode for the past two years. The company has come up with a way to put local TV broadcasters in the over-the-top video game by enabling them to deliver content over the Internet while limiting its reach to the station’s broadcast footprint.

Since broadcast rights are typically licensed market-by-market, defined as the geographic reach of an individual station’s over-the-air signal, limiting the Internet signal to the same territory is essential to preserving the existing industry licensing structure. Read More »

A gift from Zediva

Copyright If online “DVD rental” outfit Zediva didn’t exist, incoming MPAA chairman and CEO Chris Dodd might have wanted to invent it. Having taken on a nearly impossible job riding herd over a membership that has trouble agreeing on where to order lunch during board meetings, Zediva has handed him, for his first major project, a nearly gift-wrapped opportunity to rally his members around a righteous and beloved cause: suing the bejeesus out of start-up for copyright infringement.

All six of the major studios that make up the membership of MPAA are named plaintiffs in the complaint against Zediva and its CEO, Venkatesh Srinivasan, filed Monday in federal district court in California. The MPAA then put out a press release trumpeting the lawsuit, which no doubt felt good. Read More »

Cable apps and the FCC (Updated)

AllVid One potentially interesting wrinkle to the controversy over cable MSOs launching iPad streaming apps that hasn’t received much attention yet: the possibility that the FCC could have a say in the eventual outcome were the agency to go ahead with its proposed AllVid mandate.

So far, Time Warner Cable’s iPad app seems to be drawing most of the ire of the networks. The MSO was forced to drop 11 channels from its app belonging to Viacom, News Corp., Scripps and Discovery Communications after the networks threatened it with litigation. Cablevision’s iPad app, on the other hand, launched after TWC’s, has thus far escaped the cease-and-desist letters, at least as far as has been reported. Read More »