Streaming

Spotify raises $250 million, valued above $4 billion

http://online.wsj.com/news/article_email/SB10001424052702304791704579212152163448852-lMyQjAxMTAzMDIwMTEyNDEyWj It looks like those buzzy rumors floating around earlier this month are true: The Wall Street Journal reports that the streaming music…

Can LTE-broadcast dam the mobile video deluge?

By multicasting popular content over cellular networks, carriers figure they can conserve valuable 4G capacity. But as consumers use their smartphones and tablets to personalize their multimedia consumption, the ship may have already sailed on multicast’s potential.

Fastest growing segment of piracy? Live TV

A new study from Google and the UK copyright collection society PRS for Music finds that live TV is the fastest-growing segment of copyright infringement — and a large presence on social networking sites.

Verizon’s Redbox service: more Netflix than TV Everywhere

Speaking at an investor conference Wednesday, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said his company’s joint venture with Coinstar’s Redbox will seek to leverage the DVD-rental kiosk operator’s 30 million customers and not so much on Verizon FiOS’ nearly 4.4 million customers.

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The new IT manager, part 1: trends affecting IT in business

The tables have turned for information technology (IT) managers. In even the largest businesses, IT used to be able to dictate not only which computing assets would be used by employees but also how they would be used. Those days are numbered in large part because of three trends that are converging on organizations and their IT departments: cloud computing, mobile computing and the consumerization of IT.

YouTube now serving up 3.5 billion videos a day

YouTube continues to grow the number of videos its viewers watch, with now more than 3.5 billion served up every day. That number wasn’t part of any formal release, but was part of a presentation given by YouTube VP of global sales Lucas Watson this month.

Apple launches iTunes Match in the U.S.

iTunes Match, the subscription service from Apple that scans your entire iTunes library and makes it available for download on any of your iOS or Mac devices, is now widely available. You can sign up by downloading iTunes 10.5.1, so long as you’re in the U.S.

What happens to ownership as the world goes digital?

The launch of Amazon’s new “Kindle lending” feature means another form of content is becoming something that we rent, Netflix-style, rather than owning. But moving to a rental rather than an ownership model changes our relationship to content, and not always in a good way.

Put this in your vampire diary: The CW coming to Hulu

Hulu has signed a five-year licensing agreement with The CW, the company announced Friday. The deal will bring current season programming, including The Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl and Supernatural, to both subscribers of Hulu Plus, and Hulu’s ad-supported web-based service.

Netflix Q3 numbers: Recovery or downward spiral?

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has his work cut out for him, as he faces investors for the first time since announcing plans to spin out and re-brand the company’s DVD service — and then backtracking on those plans. Here’s what to look for as Netflix releases earnings.

Children and streaming don’t always mix

If streaming content is the future then I need a filter for my daughter. I realized this a few months ago after I searched for the movie Ponyo on Netflix and for weeks afterward saw the movie Pornography appear in the search-results screen.

Apple working to bring movies to the cloud

Part of Apple’s iCloud offerings is iTunes in the Cloud, which allows users to download past music, app and TV show purchases on any iOS or Mac associated with their account. A new report says Apple will soon add movies to the mix, too.

Netflix’s price hike and the power of the bundle

Netflix will lose subscribers for the first time in four years. But take a closer look at where subscribers are missing, and there are a few interesting takeaways from its revised forecast. Most notably, combined streaming-and-DVD subscriptions remain strong, while DVD-only numbers were weaker than expected.

Music wars heat up — but is free really the future?

As music services Mog and Rdio take up defensive positions by launching new free-to-listen services, it may look like streaming is the future. But retailers like eMusic are fighting back by arguing that purchasing songs remains as relevant as ever.

Stream sports to an iPad dock-equipped shopping cart

Most of us have done some online shopping while watching a game. But what about watching online sports while shopping? A food market chain in London is testing out that concept by combining a shopping cart, an iPad (s aapl) and a streaming sports app.

Online video finally chipping away at broadcast TV

A quarter of people in countries with access to high-speed broadband are streaming their television, although more than 80 percent are also still watching broadcast television as well. According to data from Ericsson, fewer people are watching broadcast TV while Internet-options are on the rise.

iTunes Match now in beta, includes music streaming

Apple has begun testing iTunes Match with a limited portion of the Apple developer community. The service, which scans your library and provides 256 Kpbs copies of the tracks it finds for download on up to 10 devices, also includes music streaming, according to early reports.

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What’s so bad about being a dumb pipe?

There’s nothing flashy about broadband services, but that won’t stop many operators from making those services a core focus as time goes on. Due to growing consumer adoption and better profit margins than traditional video services’, high-speed Internet is likely to be the future of the cable industry.

Wi-Fi plus Android apps make for a smarter watch

Wearable smart displays aren’t new, but the category hasn’t caught on yet. WIMM hopes to change that with a wearable Android module that includes many smartphone components including a Wi-Fi radio. That could be the break these displays are looking for when it comes to apps.

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Who will become the Pandora of online video?

When it comes to offering recommendations and personalized services to users sifting through mountains of digital content, online video could learn a few lessons from the music world. We’ve yet to see an offering for online movies and TV that mimics, say, Pandora’s highly personalized service. That’s slowly changing, though, and hints of linear personalized videos and recommendations are starting to emerge. Here are a few services leading the way.

Subscription gaming service GameTanium launches on Android

Exent is launching the first subscription mobile gaming service for Android called GameTanium Mobile, which allows users to gain Netflix-style all-you-can eat access to more than 75 games for $4.99 a month. It’s another sign that gaming on Android is improving.

Netflix could beat cable TV in Latin America

In the U.S. and Canada, Netflix has positioned itself as a complement to existing pay TV services. But in the wide-open Latin America market, consumers could choose to subscribe to Netflix instead of cable or satellite to supplement over-the-air TV services.

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The new video paradigm: Discovery is king

In the beginning, content was king. If a broadcaster had good TV content, viewers would seek it out. Then distribution was king, because without it no one would be able to watch that content. But what happens in the future, when there’s an infinite amount of content on a multitude of platforms? Power will no longer lie in the quality of content or in the strength of its distribution. In this new paradigm, the ability to provide easy access to relevant video content will become the most important part of the equation.

With iCloud, Apple puts the pressure on ISPs

Apple’s iCloud product poses a threat and an opportunity for ISPs. The product — which will deliver music and photo content on demand — is an acknowledgement that people are ready to stream content rather than store it on local hard drives. This has huge repercussions for ISPs.

Report: Apple Set to Beat Google to Cloud Music Service

Apple is ready to launch an online music storage service that will let iTunes customers stream their songs from a remote server wherever they have Internet access, according to a new report from Reuters. Sources claim Apple’s service will beat Google’s similar offering to market.

Apple Turns 35: Where Does It Go From Here?

Today marks the 35th birthday of Apple, and though the company has undergone many changes, in terms of its fortunes and its business focus, it’s still a leader when it comes to innovation. Can we expect that to continue for another 35 years?

Verizon Delivers 100G Speeds to U.S. Internet Backbone

Unlike the cap and congestion crowd, Verizon Communications keeps upgrading its network, planning for the cloud and streaming era coming up. It plans to upgrade backbone pipes in the U.S. along select routes to 100 Gigabit per second capacity before the second quarter of this year.

Netflix Android App Leaked, But It Doesn’t Stream Video

There’s both good and bad news for Netflix subscribers on Android phones. The good news? A Netflix Android app has been leaked onto the Internet. The bad news? While you can browse, search and look at titles in your instant queue, you can’t actually stream anything.

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Why HBO’s TV Everywhere Economics Don’t Make Sense

Time Warner and HBO remain adamantly opposed to licensing content to digital distributors like Netflix, instead choosing to double down on traditional pay-TV distribution with TV Everywhere services. But doing so means giving away content that the network could be making incremental revenue on through those digital licensing deals — not just with Netflix, but with other online distributors too.

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Welcome to the New Paradigm: TV Makers Rule

Consumer electronics manufacturers are, for the first time, gaining a great deal of control over which content is available on their products. Through a variety of TV apps and widgets coming to market, they will be able to choose what content viewers see when they turn on the TV. The shift has broad implications for the future of video, as cable companies and TV programmers could soon lose the ability to control audiences.

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5 Connected Consumer Companies to Watch in 2011

After CES last week, it’s apparent some of the biggest technology tail winds driving the consumer space in 2011 will include connected entertainment devices (in particular, TVs), over-the-top video, real-time and video communication and continued integration of social software into entertainment platforms. Combine all this with rising consumer confidence, and we can expect an action-packed year in the connected-consumer market.

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Connected Consumer 2011: What Not to Expect

It’s important to dispel potential myths and market misunderstandings when it comes to consumer electronic devices and trends. For 2011, that includes paid video chat, Apple dominating the living room and the misinformed belief that Google will rule the e-book space.

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Connected Consumer 2011: Rise of the Virtual Video Operator

Blame cord cutting, at least in part, for the drop in cable subscriber numbers in 2010. Looking towards 2011, we expect this trend could gather further steam thanks to bundled subscription offerings from players like Microsoft and Apple. We also expect a new iteration of the media guide as social media wraps its tentacles around entertainment recommendation. Meanwhile, the free e-reader could well emerge next year, and thanks to the recent release of the Kinect, 2011 could see the remote control revolutionized.

Keep Your iTunes Music in the Cloud With mSpot

Apple has yet to introduce either a streaming iTunes subscription, or a good way for MobileMe users to store their music library in the cloud for remote access. However, a service called mSpot is here to remedy that problem, by providing online space for your music.

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Web-based Strategies for Engaging TV Viewers

These days, the amount of content available for the average TV junkie is astronomical, and it’s the rare series that doesn’t bundle its episodes with an online presence. And though most television executives at this stage are relatively blunt about the fact that the web elements of a TV show are strictly supplemental, as users get more sophisticated, and as new opportunities for monetization are explored online, that equation may change.

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Report: The Live-Stream Video Market

Companies that offer live-stream video have provided specialized services since late 2007. The market of viewers fluctuates wildly depending on events, but on average, roughly 150 million unique viewers worldwide watch live video streams each month. That viewership will more than double by 2014, to 321 million monthly viewers.

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The Future of TV Can Bet on “Apps Everywhere”

TV apps will soon be “everywhere,” according to attendees of a recent GigaOM Bunker event examining the future of the TV market. But how that market will develop, and which TV platforms will win out, is yet to be decided.

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Bunker Sessions: Is App TV Coming Next?

On November 9, we gathered more than 50 entrepreneurs, executives and investors at our San Francisco offices to engage in a town hall-style forum. The topic of discussion was to consider what could happen if we had the “app store” revolution on our TV sets. Would we see the “App economy” hit the world of TV?

Internet-connected, processor-powered digital televisions are shipping today, and the move to TV app-marketplaces and platforms – like Android – are not far behind. It has been said that one of the killer apps for the iPad is the Netflix application. Will app-enabled TVs and marketplaces follow the smartphone app-store market in upending traditional channels for content delivery and radically shift consumer media consumption? If so, what will the impact be on content owners, multi-channel operators, and the consumer?

In this bunker, we brought together elements of the ecosystem — vendors, buyers, investors and project leaders — to discuss what the next opportunities could be, and what still needs to be done. While a few speakers led the debate, overall emphasis was on participation and comments by all those invited. An archive of the event can be streamed here. Subscribe today to see other archive video, read related reports and check out post-game analysis from NewTeeVee’s Ryan Lawler.

Apple TV Gets More Versatile With Plex

For those tired of playing within Apple TV’s limited bounds, Plex provides some new freedom for jailbroken current generation devices. Plex is based on the open-source XBMC (also the basis for Boxee) and provides a free alternative to sticking with only what Apple has provided.

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The Impact of “Same-Day/Soon-After” Movie Rentals

With DVD sales plummeting and Blu-ray and digital sell-thru unable to make up the gap, Hollywood continues to struggle with the digital revolution. Among the countless strategies under consideration to reverse this trend is making titles available for rent on or near the day they premiere in theaters. While this may be heresy to many insiders — especially theater owners — for consumers, the economics make sense. The research brief discusses a slice of TDG’s latest research on precisely this subject: consumer proclivity to pay additional rental fees in exchange for access to new titles earlier in the release window (in the present case, one week after the movie first premiers).

iOS 4.2 Beta: Indicator of a Future All-Cloud Apple?

In an article on AppleInsider, Josh Ong details changes in the upcoming iOS 4.2 update. It seems to blur the line between MobileMe and a user’s Apple ID. It’s a subtle addition, but it might just be the seed of a revolution in personal computing.

Apple’s New North Carolina Data Center Ready to Roll

Apple’s $1 billion data center in North Carolina made headlines when the project was revealed in May 2009. New reports indicate that the facility is set to open “any day now,” according to local officials, and could possibly double its current 500,000 square foot size.

AirPlay: Like AirTunes, Only More So

AirPlay was one of the most nebulous topics up for discussion at today’s special press event regarding iOS, iPods, iTunes and Apple TV. In many ways, it’s something we already know a lot about, since it’s the successor to AirTunes. In others, it’s a mystery.

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How Online Video Is Shaping the Next Round of Retrans Fights

Time Warner Cable and Disney have until September 2 to reach an agreement on retransmission fees that the MSO will pay for ABC stations. With the battle rapidly heating up, it might be time to consider the role that online video plays in how consumers get their content — now and in the future.

Quarterly Wrap-up

Connected Consumer Market Overview, Q2 2010

Several significant events set the tone for the digital media ecosystem during in the second quarter. First among these was the release of the iPad, the impact of which went far beyond device uptake; among other things it does not support Adobe Flash, which has impacted the entire chain of web-based video production from content sites re-encoding video to new tools being developed for HTML5-based advertising.

Another principal event in the quarter was the announcement of Google TV, a software platform built on Android 2.1, Google Chrome and Flash 10.1 that will be incorporated into a variety of companion devices including TV sets, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes. The platform offers significant advancements in merging TV and the web experience (although TiVo says it has done just that for years). Sony and Logitech have both announced plans to launch Google TV products in fall 2010.

Also in the second quarter, both YouTube and Hulu refreshed their sites, reflecting the market’s growing maturity. But while YouTube spent the quarter on the defensive in its ongoing legal battle with Viacom over copyright infringement, Hulu was on the offensive, introducing new services and preparing a paid subscription service launch. A paid service would bring new revenue streams to the video site, and would put Hulu in more direction competion with Netflix, which is increasingly shifting toward its streaming video service, away from its former mainstay of DVDs by mail.

PC Games on Your iPad, Courtesy of HTML5

The iPad is already a strong entry in the mobile games realm, with its large, high-resolution display, touchscreen interface and support for external devices like keyboards. Plus it has the iPhone/iPad development community cranking out innovative games all the time, too.

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Rankings: Spotify Leads the Streaming Music Scene

If the music business’s last decade was all about a transition from physical products to digital ownership of music, the current one could well be about a shift from owning song files to having access to streams via a subscription to a massive library of songs. New services are springing up to compete with incumbents, which are just beginning to break into the wireless mobile sector, and the new market for music subscriptions is taking shape. Paul Bonanos provides a closer look at the players involved, who’s ahead in the market, and what to watch for in the months ahead.

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Brewing a Better Web Video Experience

Television delivered over-the-air or via a cable provider is like the Starbucks of video. You know exactly what you’re going to get, whether you’re in Biloxi, Miss., or New York City. Online video is more like grabbing a cup of coffee in a local shop or a diner. Some places it’s going to be awesome, and some places your latte is going to be a cup of coffee with extra cream. Here’s a look at how companies are trying to serve up a better viewing experience.

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The Next Big Thing in Video: Adaptive Bitrate Streaming

For online video to become a serious business, watching content needs to be a reliable, high-quality experience. In recent years, picture quality, accessibility across platforms and devices, player functionality and content availability have dramatically improved. Today, it’s (thankfully) a very rare occasion when you come across a video that asks you to stop and install RealPlayer. But frequently updating plug-ins, buffering, jerkiness, and low-quality pictures continue to be a few unhappy aspects of watching online video — especially as an increasing number of content providers roll out expanding high-definition offerings.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to clean up all these problems, especially because many of them result from complications and hang-ups on the video watcher’s computer or Internet connection. That’s why many companies are turning towards adaptive bitrate streaming, a technique of detecting a watcher’s bandwidth and CPU capabilities in real time and then adjusting the quality of a video stream. That requires encoding a single video at multiple bitrates and switching to the most appropriate one on a moment-by-moment basis. The result: very little buffering, fast start time and a good experience for both high-end and low-end connections.

Joost iPhone App: A Bit Disappointing

Personally, I can’t get enough of the new podcast features rolled out in the iPhone/iPod touch 2.2 firmware update. They’re now an…

Q&A with Livestation CEO Matteo Berlucchi

Livestation streams TV content from around the world to its own video player. CEO Matteo Berlucchi explains his company’s business model, why live-streaming is important, and about his competition.