Archive for the ‘Convergence Culture’ Category

Google Buys Slide In Social Networking Push

August 6, 2010


Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is buying social app maker Slide, as part of its soon-to-come new entry into the social networking/social games space. Slide, which was founded four years ago by Paypal co-founder Max Levchin, is behind a number of popular social networking apps, including SuperPoke Pets and Top Fish.

TechCrunch, which first reported the deal, puts the price at $182 million; the NYT, which is confirming the news, says Google is paying $228 million.

Either way it’s a big discount to the $550 million valuationput on the company when it raised $50 million in a fourth round of funding in January 2008. Then again, there were signs that all was not well at Slide. It laid off staff a year ago, saying it wanted to focus on bigger ad deals.

We’ll likely have more details on Friday, when the deal is expected to be announced by both companies. Google says it won’t comment on “rumor or speculation.”

see original article at


Babelgum & Channel 4 Team for Episodic Doc Prequel

July 13, 2010


Babelgum has entered into a co-production deal with Native Voice Films that sees the web platform working alongside traditional media partners to support the release of the documentary featureThe Bengali Detective.

The new project is a co-production between Babelgum, the Channel 4 British Documentary Foundation, DR2 Denmark, Commonwealth Broadcasting Trust and Salty Sea Music. Further production and broadcast deals are being confirmed.

Babelgum is to broadcast, starting today, specially commissioned prequel episodes for the film. The exclusive customized episodes will roll out on a weekly basis. These mini-documentary episodes will then be used to virally promote the feature film festival appearances and theatrical release of The Bengali Detective in 2011.

The feature-length documentary centers on the day-to-day investigations of Rajesh Ji. He is a dance-obsessed gumshoe with a motley band of helpers who look to expose the secrets, fears and covert lives of today’s middle-class Indian society. The accompanying doc series takes a look at modern India and highlights the real-world characters investigating cases in Calcutta.

“This deal is a crystallization of what we have been working towards at Babelgum’s film division,” said Karol Martesko-Fenster, the senior VP and general manager of the film division at Babelgum. “A true 360-degree production approach that doesn’t just pay lip service to the online dimension—but rather where online and mobile are the driving factors, working with, not against, traditional media, to virally create interest in the project before it is released on traditional platforms. Bearing in mind the ever-fragmenting nature of the media landscape and the need to target audiences across all platforms, it is the kind of approach that filmmakers will increasingly be adopting. We are excited to be working with Native Voice Films on this fantastic project.”

Phil Cox, director for Native Voice Films, added, “At Native Voice Films, we’ve always strived to make films built on strong storytelling that challenge our audience’s view of the world, while at the same time revealing the essential humanity of our subjects. We’re especially excited to be working with our co-producing partners at Babelgum on the premiere of The Bengali Detective. Together we’ve crafted a fresh, compelling approach to distributing the film, first as an episodic prequel and then as a full-fledged theatrical feature, harnessing their platforms to reach the widest global audience possible. It truly will be a landmark event and hopefully a guidepost for other independent filmmakers.”

see original article at

YouTube envisions future of television viewing

April 23, 2010


It is just five years since the first video was uploaded on YouTube by one of its founders. Now over 24 hours of video a minute are uploaded to the site and it receives over a billion views a day. YouTube has its sights set on turning a few minutes a day watching videos on the web to something more like the hours a day we generally spend watching television. That vision could become a reality once televisions are routinely connected to the internet.

“People think about the world of TV and the world of online video as being different ways to distribute video,” said Chad Hurley, the co-founder of YouTube, in an interview with the Telegraph newspaper. “But what happens when every TV is connected to wi-fi with a browser?”

“That is what we envision. Instead of this world of online video and this world of TV there is just one world,” he said. “There won’t be a difference in the future.”

“The iPad — is that a phone or a computer?” he questioned. “If I put it on my wall is it a TV? People continue to try to throw things in the buckets when really these are all going to be different-sized devices with a connection to the internet.”

As on the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch, YouTube has a dedicated application on the iPad. With its nearly ten-inch screen, viewing YouTube on the iPad feels like much more of a natural multimedia experience than on a laptop or desktop computer.

YouTube is already available through widgets or applications on various internet-connected televisions and an increasing number of televisions will be network connected in the next few years.

According to the co-founder of YouTube, the aim is now to deliver a more seamless experience across different devices. “We have some solutions for mobile, we have some solutions for TV, but they are not very consistent and they are somewhat separate. So, I start watching something on my mobile phone and then I can finish watching it on my PC, I sort my favourites on my PC and I want to watch it on my TV.”

Within the next five years, YouTube expects to see much more video viewed over the internet. “Although YouTube is the most successful video platform, the number of minutes watched, 10-15 minutes a day, is small when compared to the five hours watched on the TV set,” said Salar Kamangar, vice president of product management for YouTube. “It’s hard for me to imagine that in five to 10 years from now most of the content we consume won’t be delivered over the internet.”

see original article

First 3D television sets go on sale in UK

April 23, 2010


By Dan Whitworth, Newsbeat technology reporter

3D TV has been one of the biggest technology stories of the year so far and Thursday morning (22 April) saw the first ones actually going on sale in the UK.

They’ve been available in the US and Japan for several months, but as expected they’re not cheap. The price of the first TV released is £1,799 – and there are lots of other bits of kit needed to get the right set-up.

A pair of the 3D glasses this system uses cost £150, a 3D Blu-ray DVD player is around £350 and a compatible HDMI cable is £50.

For 28-year-old Matt Rajah though – the very first person in the queue on Thursday morning – it’s worth the money: “Well I think it’s clearly the future of where television is going.

“I saw Avatar with my friends in 3D at the cinema and really loved that film. I’m also an avid gamer as well so I’m hoping to exploit some of the features of the TV through gaming.”

At the moment, the platforms available for 3D TV are limited. There are no 3D television channels and there are only a relatively small selection of 3D DVDs and video games.

John Kempner, the chief TV buyer for John Lewis, reckons that will change: “It is all about content. There will be more 3D movies coming along on Blu-ray. But more importantly Sky will be launching its 3D channel in around September time we think.

Video gaming is the other area where there’ll be a lot of 3D content available, which I think will be important too.”

That video game content is seen by some in the industry as a key driver of 3D TV sales.

It’s also worth pointing out that as well as 3D capability, the televisions going on sale also offer the latest 2D high-definition technology.

While some forecasts predict only modest sales this year, most experts believe it’s the future and that 3D TVs will sell in much larger numbers once the content improves and the price comes down.

see original article

Now Newspapers Can Count Their Mobile Audiences, Too

April 23, 2010


One of the world’s leading newspaper auditors has added mobile phones to the list of mediums that it tracks, providing validation to the wireless industry, while also potentially giving publications a shot of new readers as traditional print audiences decline.

To do so, the interactive unit of the Audit Bureau of Circulations has partnered with Verve Wireless, which works with more than 600 newspaper publishers in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Together, the two will be able to audit mobile applications, mobile browsers and even e-readers, like the iPad. Although the service will be limited to Verve’s clients, it marks the first official time the ABC (NYSE: DIS) has tracked mobile usage.

The audience size is not trivial. Verve said more than nine million readers accessed news from mobile devices using its publishing platform in March, jumping 243 percent compared to the prior year. In 2010, it expects to serve more than 2.2 billion mobile news pages. Separately, ABC said it found in a survey of member publications, that more than 80 percent said consumers would rely more heavily on mobile devices as a primary information source over the next three years.

A spokesperson for ABC said up until now it has not been tracking mobile, but some papers have been able to extract data from companies like Omniture (NSDQ: OMTR).

“With all the buzz around the iPad and with use of mobile browsers exploding, newspapers and their advertisers are increasingly interested in seeing mobile metrics detailed in ABC reports,” said Michael Lavery, ABC president and managing director, in a release.

The UK film council has released a report on digital and creative.

April 23, 2010

The UK film council has released a report on digital and creative.

Download a copy of the report here

Parks Releases New Study on Online Viewership

April 23, 2010

By Mansha Daswani

DALLAS: More than 25 million U.S. broadband homes are watching full-length TV shows online, Parks Associates reports, double the number recorded last year.

In addition, the Parks Associates study, Online Video and Broadband Provider Strategies, reveals that more than 20 million homes watch movies online. “Connected CE devices are affecting the competitive ecosystem of the television industry, and while the current number of cord cutters isn’t substantial, service providers are concerned about these developments,” said Jayant Dasari, research analyst at Parks Associates. “Pay-TV providers are working to head off a possible shift that might devalue their services by offering TV Everywhere. These services supplement their traditional offerings, which might not dissuade anyone determined to cut the cord, but providers could use them as models for future business strategies.”
The report goes on to note that consumers have yet to establish strong preferences on whether they get video and other value-added services from broadband service providers or over-the-top providers such as Hulu.

see original article

Kick-Ass Hardcover Nears 100,000-Copy Mark

April 13, 2010


Sales of Kick-Ass, the hardcover collection of the violent and funny comic book series by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr., are about to hit the 100,000 copies as the movie version heads for theaters, according to Marvel Comics.

“My first inclination is to try to be clever and say that I have 100,000 relatives to thank … but I won’t,” said Kick-Ass artist Romita. “I’m extremely proud of this all, and very excited about working on the next two chapters!”

The 144-page book, which collects the eight Kick-Ass single issues published so far, focuses on the bloody misadventures of a wannabe superhero who dons a costume to take down bad guys. Loaded with grit, gore and adult language, the comic about young crime-fighters is definitely not for kids.

“The idea that a $25 book has hit 100,000 sales in a little over a month is just insane,” said Kick-Ass writer Mark Millar. “That’s roughly 10 times what Johnny and I were expecting and we would like to thank the comic-book retailers in America for their support of this book. This was not cheap and they took a gamble on us and I promise that Johnny will buy each and every one of them a drink at every convention he ever hits from now on.”

While Kick-Ass proved popular in its original run, the huge sales of the hardcover version show the power of the Hollywood-comic book crossover. The book is currently ranked No. 7 on’s comics and graphic novels best-sellers list.

Read More

MobiTV Launches on the iPhone

April 13, 2010


Mobile video firm MobiTV has launched a new application on Apple’s iPhone that will allow viewers to watch live and on-demand programming from TV programmers such as ABC and NBC. The application download is free, but you have to be a subscriber to the MobiTV service to watch premium content on the app, which includes eight live channels and 30 channels of full-length on-demand TV content.

Users can sign up for the MobiTV service and pay directly within the app. MobiTV’s service is available in packages of one, three or six months, with plans costing $9.99 a month, $24.99 for three months, or $44.99 for six months. iPhone users that want to download the MobiTV app can do so by clicking here.

see mobiTV video

Free content available on the iPhone app includes breaking news from ABC News Now, as well as on-demand content from NBC News, NBC Sports, MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon. Premium content, which is available to MobiTV subscribers, includes live programming from ESPN Mobile TV, MSNBC, Fox News, CNBC and Fox business, as well as full-length on-demand episodes from MTV, Comedy Central, Disney Channel, NBC, VH1, ABC Mobile, Nickelodeon, SyFy, USA Mobile, CBS and more.

The launch of an iPhone app makes perfect sense for the firm, which has been serving up live and on-demand video through its own service for the last several years, but has been operating a side business of building smartphone apps for partners like the NBA. With today’s announcement, the service will become available on the iPhone for the first time, which opens up a large new base of potential subscribers.

see original article

Apple thwarts Adobe plans for Flash applications

April 13, 2010


Apple has changed the terms of its licence to prevent the use of anything other than its approved software development kit to create applications for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. In revealing its clause, Apple poses a problem for Adobe, which is poised to announce a tool in the next release of its software to allow applications authored in Flash to run on the iPhone.

see original article