Through its acquisition of Ticketmaster, Live Nation has a wealth of consumer data at its disposal. That information includes, according to the company’s VP of programmatic, Mike Finnegan, who the customers are, where they’re going to be and how many people they’ll be with.
Net Neutrality Here’s an interesting one: Comcast is getting ready to roll out its Xfinity On Demand app for the Xbox 360, giving Xfinity TV subscribers who also have an Xbox Live Gold subscription access to Comcast’s on-demand library of content through their Xbox console and through the Kinect interface if they also have the gesture-control add-on (h/t Ars Technica).
That content includes thousands of movies and tens of thousands of TV titles that Comcast currently makes available to subscribers on-demand across a wide range of platforms. Since the Xfinity for Xbox service requires users to have at least one TV in the house connected to a Comcast set-top box, the new Xbox app presumably will also include access to the new Netflix-like Xfinity Streamix subscription service Comcast recently introduced that lets Comcast Digital Video customers stream thousands of additional movies and TV shows on-demand through their TV set-top box.
Best of all, according to Comcast’s FAQ page on the new Xbox app, Xfinity content streamed through Xbox Live will not count toward subscriber’s 250 GB per month data cap, because the content “is being delivered over our private IP network and not the public Internet.” Read More »
Net Neutrality The Wall Street Journal generated some buzz this morning with its story about the rude awakening greeting owners of the new 4G-enabled iPad when they discover that all the streaming video they’re consuming on their speedy new tablets is crushing their monthly data allotments. A weekend’s worth of March Madness can easily chew up 3GB of data from AT&T or Verizon, leaving iPad owners with nothing for the rest of the month unless they’re willing to pay an additional $10 per gigabyte.
The Journal may have buried the lede a bit, though, at least as far as content owners are concerned. Three grafs from the bottom of a long piece the paper mentions that AT&T is “studying a plan to give app developers and content providers the option to pay for the mobile data their products use, thereby keeping those apps and videos from counting against a user’s allotment of data, kind of like an 800-number for apps.”
As the website MacRumors put it, the plan “would presumably allow bandwidth usage for certain apps to be free. For example, watching shows from a TV network app such as ABC Player might not count against your monthly bandwidth allotment. Instead, ABC would pay AT&T (or Verizon) for the mobile bandwidth consumed. In return, ABC would likely see increased usage of their app to watch shows and more revenue from in-show advertising.” Read More »
Legislation The blame-storming in Hollywood over the failure of SOPA and the Protect-IP Act has begun. MPAA chief Chris Dodd offers a half-hearted mea culpa in the New York Times, acknowledging a “perception problem” for the industry. But he pins most of the blame on “irresponsible” technology players like Wikipedia, Google and Reddit for stirring up the natives with their blackouts and black propaganda.
More darkly, many in the media industry are blaming President Barack Obama for the loss, accusing him of a stab in the back for siding publicly with Silicon Valley after Hollywood had raised millions for his campaigns. One time SOPA and PIPA supporters in Congress who went wobbly in the face of public pressure are also coming in for scorn.
Most of the problems the media companies have had over SOPA and PIPA, however, have been self-inflicted. Read More »
Legislation There were, as best I could tell without an engineering degree, sound engineering reasons to oppose the DNS-blocking provisions of the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act. An enforcement mechanism that relied on maintaining a security hole in the Domain Name System, just as Internet engineers around the world were implementing a long-awaited fix for that hole, seem pretty self-evidently a bad idea. Especially so since the enforcement purpose itself could be so easily defeated by the simple expedient of typing in IP addressed directly.
There were also, again as best I could tell, serious ideological and societal implications that flowed from that enforcement strategy. Insofar as DNS blocking in the U.S. would encourage the adoption of alternative systems for resolving IP addresses, which were not subject to U.S. jurisdiction but which more Read More »
Legislation You knew something was up when both Lamar Smith and Patrick Leahy, respectively the chairmen of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, each issued statements Friday (Smith, Leahy) saying they would remove the DNS blocking provisions from their own signature anti-piracy bills, the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House, and PROTECT-IP in the Senate. On Saturday, the rest of us found out what was up when the Obama Administration posted a statement on the White House blog saying it would not support any legislative measures “that tamper with the technical architecture of the Internet through manipulation of the Domain Name System (DNS).”
And with that, the copyright industries’ biggest prize was lost. Read More »
Copyright Only a few months ago, it appeared that supporters of the Stop Online Piracy Act had the votes to whisk the bill through the House Judiciary Committee and get it to the House floor before anyone really noticed what was happening. The bill was sponsored by both the chairman and ranking member of the committee and was the top legislative priority of major U.S. industries with a history of generous campaign contributions. The skids seemed more than amply greased.
For all that, however, SOPA’s supporters weren’t quite quick enough. Opponents raised enough alarms that a Judiciary Committee hearing last month expected to be a mere rubber-stamp markup of the bill turned into a contentious, two-day marathon that only ended when Congress itself adjourned for the year. Nearly 70 proposed amendments were offered and the committee barely got through a third of them before chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) reluctantly brought down the gavel. Read More »
Bandwidth For those who can bear to look, the debt ceiling bill being humped through the Senate this weekend by majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) could turn out to be critical to the long-term prospects of the mobile video delivery business.
In an effort to find every possible dollar of deficit reduction without actually cutting federal programs, Reid has wedged a provision into the bill authorizing the FCC to conduct “incentive auctions” of slices of radio spectrum currently controlled by broadcasters for use as wireless broadband capacity.
The idea is that broadcasters would “voluntarily” relinquish frequencies they’re not currently using. Government agencies would also contribute some spectrum currently assigned to them by the FCC. Some of the newly collected spectrum would be allocated Read More »
Online Video Get ready for another round of headlines touting cord-cutting. According to Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett, big cable MSOs and sat-casters are about to report some ugly quarterly subscriber numbers.
In a new forecast, Moffett projects that cable MSOs will report an aggregate net loss of 322,000 video subs in the second quarter, including 108,000 at Comcast and 101,000 at Time Warner Cable. While some of those losses will be made up by net adds at Verizion FiOS and AT&T U-Verse, overall, Moffett said, “our conviction in a positive aggregate number [for MVPD subscribers] is near zero.” Read More »
Net Neutrality Not sure if the timing was intentional, but it is certainly fitting that Netflix general counsel David Hyman’s very-pointed op-ed on usage-based bandwidth pricing should appear in the Wall Street Journal on day after the FCC finally delivered its long-delayed net neutrality rules to the White House Office of Management and Budget, the final step before their official publication in the Federal Register.
Once published in the Register, the rules become legally effective, which in this case means they become legally contestable in court. Verizon has already tried to challenge the rules once, based on the FCC’s initial rulemaking vote, but was rebuffed by the court as premature. That, and perhaps other litigation, is no doubt ready to go the moment the rules come off the presses at the Government Printing Office. Read More »
Copyright From virtually a standing start in the U.S. last year the debate over blocking access to so-called rogue web sites that host copyright infringing content has escalated rapidly into a worldwide battle.
Last week, a group of leading technology investors and venture capitalists sent a letter to members of the U.S. Congress warning that the Protect IP Act (PIPA), which was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in May, could stifle innovation and harm U.S. competitiveness around the world.
“The bill is ripe for abuse, as it allows rights-holders to require third-parties to block access to and take away revenues sources for online services, with limited oversight and due process,” the group said. “While we understand PIPA was originally intended to deal with “rogue” foreign sites, we think PIPA will ultimately put American innovators and investors at a clear disadvantage in the global economy.” Read More »
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 »
Streaming Video For most who followed Apple’s announcements today, the big news would have been the new lighter, thinner, faster version of the iPad, the latest iteration of iOS (iOS 4.3), which adds some features like local music sharing between devices on a home network, and of course the appearance on stage of a game, if painfully gaunt, Steve Jobs. For the studios and premium TV networks, however, the real news was something literally just tossed in.
That would be the $39 1080p HDMI output dongle for the iPad 2 (dongle sold separately of course). From the perspective of high-value video content, the dongle basically turns any TV with a HDMI port into an Apple TV. With the dongle, an iPad 2 owner can download or stream copy-protected video to the tablet via iTunes or other app and display it on their big-screen TV, even if the user does not have an Apple TV set-top box. Read More »
Net Neutrality The House Communications and Technology Subcommittee hauled all five commissioners of the FCC up to the Hill Wednesday to explain the agency’s recent net neutrality rulemaking, marking the opening gambit it would could be a long and messy fight between the commission’s Democratic majority and the new Republican majority in the House over the agency’s legal authority to enforce the new rules.
Uncharacteristically for such oversight hearings, Wednesday’s event drew nearly the full complement of subcommittee members, as well as cameo appearances from the chairman and ranking member of the full House Energy and Commerce Committee, and ran for more than three hours, signalling net neutrality’s surprising emergence as a major political issue heading into the 2012 election cycle, especially (if somewhat inexplicably) among Tea Party types in the GOP. Read More »