Daily Marauder


THINKING OUTSIDE OF THE BOX, OR IN THIS CASE IN IT: BOXEE UNVEILED by Martha

THINKING OUTSIDE OF THE BOX, OR IN THIS CASE IN IT: BOXEE UNVEILED

Guest Writer: Martha Rivera

A sold out crowd gathered at the Williamsburg Music Hall in Brooklyn, NY last night for the unveiling of the Boxee beta as well as to catch a glimpse of the highly anticipated Beta Box.

Launched in 2008, Boxee is software that aggregates media content from the web and your personal computer and streams it on your HD television. It searches web based content providers like YouTube, Netflix, MySpaceTV, Blip.TV, CBS.com, Revision3, flickr, and Pandora, among others and brings the content straight to your living room television. Missing still from the list of content providers is the online video site, Hulu. In addition to streaming web content, it also pulls media content from your own personal computer including your ITunes, personal videos and pictures. Boxee is an open source platform allowing users to create their own apps. To date, there are over 300.

“Our biggest challenge is distribution,” said Boxee CEO Avner Ronen.   The hurdle is getting cable affiliates and major content providers, like Hulu on board. At the core of the problem is fear of piracy and concern that the advertising is stripped from the content. However, Boxee pulls online content as is, which includes the advertising that is attached to it. Boxee also has the ability to track a host of analytics far outweighing television’s usage reporting. Ronen is hoping media companies and cable providers will become comfortable once they understand usage.

Four weeks ahead of its wide release at CES, Ronen introduced the beta software and Boxee Box, as well as announced the launch of 3 new apps: the hipster soft-core site Suicide Girls, the online gamer e-zine The Escapist and Clicker, TV guide, entertainment search engine and DVR all rolled into one.


Boxee Beta

Overall, Boxee Beta looks great and is much more user-friendly. The UI has been streamlined with a new layout. The menu, previously hidden, is now front and center. The home screen has been redesigned to feature the main menu, featured content, personal queue and the friend feed.

My favorite social networking feature is the ability to connect to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Any media that your friends or followers share with you will automatically populate on your queue. Too busy to watch videos at work? Don’t have the ability to watch video because you don’t have an office or are on the go? Another feature allows a viewer to send media assets to your queue so you can watch when you get home.

The search function has also been streamlined. Now users can search for movies, TV shows as well as local and online content at once. Boxee Beta populates all content from your computer as well as from any web source that works with Boxee. Of note, you can now mark content as “watched.” Better yet, the search function lets you omit “watched” content from the results.

Boxee focused specifically on TV shows in the Beta redesign. TV shows are now organized by season and episode. You can follow your favorite TV shows, and like Hulu, it will automatically populate your queue with new episodes.

Another new feature is the Global Menu. This menu is essentially the shortcuts screen. It provides quick access to predetermined shortcuts, favorite apps, history, and settings.

Other features include allowing users to interact with the apps without having to download them, a now playing button on every screen allowing easier navigation back to the player, a new Last.fm and flickr interface as well as a main background that changes based on the time of day.

As of this writing, 85% of Boxee’s 700,000 users use a Mac. However, Boxee Beta has not forgotten about its Windows’ friends. It will now run on Direct X, which will mean a better experience for the PC user.

Boxee Box by D-Link

The night also included the highly anticipated unveiling of the Boxee Box. Boxee partnered with D-Link, better known as the makers of wireless routers, to create the hardware. Astro Studios, the cutting edge designers behind products like the X-Box 360 and Nike, designed the sleek cube. This small black submerged cube will sit on top of the many boxes taking up space near your TV. The guys at Boxee hope that eventually you’ll do away with all those boxes and just use the Boxee Box.

The Boxee Box will retail at $200 and will be available for distribution sometime in 2Q10.

Why Boxee?

I’m a three-screen user. I watch TV, while surfing on my laptop, with my phone not far away. Having used the Alpha, I don’t know if I can give up my computer that easily. As I was navigating the web content on Boxee, I found my multi-tasking self wanting to toggle out of the screen to search the web while the video played. Because I was unfamiliar with the navigation, or more like because I’m a specific type of navigator, all of a sudden I felt trapped. According to Andrew Kippen, VP of Marketing, “Boxee is about fighting tradition. It’s streamlining your viewing experience by consolidating it all into one. Boxee is the tip of the iceberg for what’s possible.”

The Boxee Beta version seems much more straightforward. It’s easy-to-use features will allow users to not feel so (excuse the pun) boxed in. Then again, in this case, that’s what the creators of Boxee want you to do. Engage with the content within the box.

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BROADCAST/CABLE by Marauder

BROADCAST/CABLE

With the storied New York Yankees facing off against the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies, Fox Sports has a potentially compelling matchup in baseball’s World Series that should drive strong TV ratings.

All News Corp‘s Fox needs is close games, a full seven-game series and Mother Nature to cooperate and it could see strong revenue, analysts said. (Reuters10/27)

World Series

USA’s “White Collar” attracted 5.37 million viewers to its premiere at 10 p.m. Friday. The show averaged 2.18 million viewers in the 25-to-54 demographic group and 1.79 million in the 18-to-49 category. Mediaweek (10/26)

Television industry execs who complain that Hulu is undermining current models haven’t seen the business plan, says CEO Jason Kilar. Some 50% of Hulu’s content has never been available in the living room in the past year, and therefore no threat to the TV, he says. (Iwantmedia10/28, Broadcasting & Cable 10/27)

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ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA by Marauder
October 23, 2009, 3:53 PM
Filed under: ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA | Tags: , , , , , , ,

ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA

For those who like renting movies, Hollywood may soon have a message: Prepare to wait. In an effort to push consumers toward buying more movies, some major film studios are considering a new policy that would block DVDs from being offered for rental until several weeks after going on sale. (LA Times 10/23)

This is ridiculous. So now, the thought process is that consumers will simply accept that they can no longer get Netflix movies in the same time frame and go out to buy one instead of renting? Come on. This will force advanced users to the bitorrents to illegally download. There is a difference in strategy between renting and buying. If I don’t want to permanently own something, this coercion won’t change anything. It will really just piss me off. And…prepare for angry comments on Netflix.

Netflix


Hulu, the free online video site where television shows and movies can be watched in their entirety, will start charging fees at some point, one of its owners said. (AP10/22)

MySpace launched its own music video site a week before the planned launch of Vevo. Build playlists, search for and browse curated, popular and recently added embeddable ad supported music videos. The Artist Dashboard interface provides access to charts, graphs, and snapshots of MySpace Music data for all global artists, documenting fan geography, song plays, profile views, friend count, and profile visitors. An integration with iLike also provides top-line data from iLike partner networks. (Cynopsis 10/23)

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MOBILE MOVIES ON THE GO: MSPOT by Marauder
October 20, 2009, 7:52 PM
Filed under: Feature | Tags: , , , , , , ,

MOBILE MOVIES ON THE GO: MSPOT

mspot

Just launched about a month ago now, mSpot allows consumers the opportunity to watch movies on 30 phones domestically. Interested in taking in Zach and Miri Make a Porno? Now, you can introduce your fellow train mates to comedy nudity as well. Incidentally speaking, this was the movie playing when mSpot was demoed to me. Currently, over 350 movies are available on the service and a few TV shows as well.

The business model:

I had the opportunity to sit down with Darren Tsui , CEO of mSpot, today at Digital Hollywood LA. The service in available both in a rental and monthly subscription model ($4.99/movie and $9.99/month for 4 movies). When asked why the service wasn’t available in an unlimited monthly Netflix type of model, Tsui responded that this model wasn’t compatible with the way studios make money on their content.

I questioned viewers’ desire to watch full length movies on a cell phone. Tsui responded that this was more of a challenge two years ago but not at this point. Of the audience using the service, consumers tend to rent rather than subscribing via the monthly model.

The competion:

The other players in this space include iTunes, and possibly if rumors are true and you know they are, the Hulu, YouTube, and Netflix apps to come. mSpot attempts to differentiate itself from iTunes with a streaming content model. “People don’t plan when they want to watch something,” Tsui tells me. In essence, iTunes requires some forethought to download the content in advance whereas mSpot is available on the go. That said, clearly iTunes has its advantages in its ability to allow viewers to watch on planes, subways, and anywhere else where cell service isn’t available…like the panel rooms at Digital Hollywood.

To come:

Currently the service is only available as a mobile website but applications are sure to come.

Marauder Weigh-In:

I continue to wonder how many people will truly watch full length movies on any type of mobile service…only because I would never do such a thing if offered the option between my laptop and my phone. That said, I’m not a parent and I clearly see the advantages that this platform offers the parental units.

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ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA by Marauder

ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA

Remember when Twitter was just a little pipsqueek, with less than 10 million monthly unique visitors to its site worldwide? That was back in February, 2009. Fast-forward to April, and Twitter’s U.S. visitors alone reached 17 million. Now comScore has released its worldwide numbers and it estimates Twitter’s global unique visitors in April, 2009 was a whopping 32 million, up from 19 million in March, 2009. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/05/20/twitter-surges-past-digg-linkedin-and-nytimescom-with-32-million-global-visitors/ 5/20)

Twit2

YouTube, a site that was once notorious for pirated content and user-generated videos that were practically useless to brands, has made great strides in the last few years as it looks to appeal to its growing number of advertisers and content partners. Today the site is adding a new feature that makes the platform even more useful, adding Google’s powerful (and very popular) Analytics reporting to YouTube brand channels, adding some credence to YouTube’s claim that it’s the “world’s largest focus group”. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/05/20/start-tracking-youtube-brings-google-analytics-to-brand-channels/ 5/20)

YouTube

Video sites Hulu and YouTube are said to be preparing an expansion in Britain. Hulu, backed by News Corp., NBC Universal and Disney, could launch in the U.K. by this September, while Google’s YouTube is reportedly close to making deals over full-length U.K. television shows. (Iwantmedia 5/21, http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2009/05/20/reports-hulu-youtube-set-to-make-headway-in-the-uk 5/20)

The future of the weekly city paper is the daily blog. Hints of this future can already be seen at Village Voice Media, which owns and operates 15 of the top weeklies in the country, including the Village Voice, SF Weekly, and LA Weekly. Bill Jensen, the director of new media who oversees all the Village Voice Media sites tells me that 40 percent of pageviews comes from the blogs on the sites, up from 20 percent a year ago. Some of the more popular ones include columnist Michael Musto’s blog, Nikki Finke’s Deadline Holywood Daily, and Topless Robot. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/05/20/village-voice-media-sites-now-get-40-percent-of-traffic-from-blogs-planning-local-ad-network/ 5/20)

Village Voice

Google has considered buying a newspaper or using its charitable arm to support news businesses seeking non-profit status, but is now unlikely to pursue either option. Instead, says CEO Eric Schmidt, Google will work with publishers to make their Web sites “work better.” (Iwantmedia 5/21, http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2252e92c-4569-11de-b6c8-00144feabdc0.html 5/20)

Microsoft is planning to introduce a brand new search engine next week at the D: All Things Digital conference as it scrambles to try and regain market share in search advertising from Google, per the WSJ. Code-named “Kumo” (“cloud” or “spider” in Japanese,) the search engine is designed to streamline searches for products or subjects by grouping them into categories. (Cynopsis 5/21)

E!, the entertainment news channel, plans to run tweets from celebrities’ Twitter feeds in the news crawl at the bottom of the screen during its programming. In addition, the Comcast-owned network will feature a “Celebri-Tweet” widget on the home page of its Web site. (Iwantmedia 5/21, http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/233167-E_Seeking_Celebrity_Tweeters.php 5/20)

Several media companies are appealing the April 17 verdict in the trial of The Pirate Bay movie and music piracy site — even though they won the case. Instead of $3.5 million, the companies want $13 million. They claim the lower fine doesn’t fully cover the scope of the damages. (Iwantmedia 5/21, http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/05/big-content-appeals-pirate-bay-casedamages-were-too-low.ars 5/20)

Yahoo is looking to buy companies that will allow it to become a bigger player in social networking, according to CTO Ari Balogh. “It’s a good time to be buying now,” he says, declining to give specific names. “I can guarantee you there will be some acquisitions.” (Iwantmedia 5/21, http://www.reuters.com/article/GlobalTechnology09/idUSTRE54J68D20090520 5/20)

Overall Usage Number of Users 2+ (in 000’s) – Monthly Reach
1Q09       4Q08        1Q08     % Diff Yr to Yr
Watching TV in the home        284,574   285,313   281,106       1.2%
Watching Timeshifted TV          79,533    73,934     57,934      37.3%
Using the Internet                 163,110   161,525  158,002        3.2%
Watching Video on Internet     131,102   123,195  115,970      13.0%
Using a Mobile Phone              230,436   228,920  219,619       4.9%
Mobile Subscribers Watching
Video on a Mobile Phone            13,419   11,198     8,817      52.2%
Source: The Nielsen Company

Monthly Time Spent in Hours: Minutes Per User 2+
1Q09    4Q08   1Q08   % Diff Yr to Yr  Absolute Diff Yr to Yr
(1Q09 to 1Q08)   (1Q09 to 1Q08)
Watching TV in the home          153:27  151:03  150:38        1.9%                 2:49
Watching Timeshifted TV              8:13     7:11     5:52       40.1%                 2:21
Using the Internet                     29:15    27:04   27:57        4.6%                 1:17
Watching Video on Internet          3:00      2:53     1:57       53.2%                 1:02
Mobile Subscribers Watching
Video on a Mobile Phone               3:37    3:42      n/a          n/a                    n/a
Source: The Nielsen Company

Video Audience Composition – Age  1Q 2009

K2-11 T12-17 A18-24 A25-34 A35-44 A45-54 A55-64 A65+
On TV                 10%     6%       7%     13%     14%     17%    15%   18%
On the Internet     8%      8%       7%     15%     18%     22%   15%     7%
On Mobile Phones  n/a    18%      10%     34%     20%     11%     6%     1%
Source: The Nielsen Company

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ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA by Marauder

ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA

Optimedia U.S. has released a new survey that attempts to measure not only how many people watched a show across multiple platforms but also how engaged viewers are in it and how much buzz it gets. “American Idol” on Fox was at the top of the Content Power Ratings, AMC’s “Mad Men” was the highest-ranked prime-time cable show and Showtime’s “Dexter” was the highest-ranked pay-cable program. The New York Times/TV Decoder blog (5/14) , TVWeek.com (5/14)

idol

YouTube remains the largest online-video brand site, but Hulu has grown from 63.2 million total streams in April 2008 to 373.3 million in April 2009 — a 490% increase, according to Nielsen Online. Other online-video brands on the list were Yahoo!, Fox Interactive Media, Nickelodeon Kids & Family Network, MSN/Windows Live, ABC.com, MTV Networks Music, and Turner Sports & Entertainment Digital. TVWeek.com (5/14) , Mediaweek (5/14)

While Nielsen says Hulu received 8.9 million visitors in March, comScore claims the video site received 42 million. The wildly divergent numbers demonstrate the nascency of the market for online video measurement. Advertising execs complain: It’s “still the wild wild West.” (Iwantmedia 5/15, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/15/business/media/15nielsen.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1242417777-hPCG7aRJ6N313TbLNTrCjg 5/15)

How many Twitter followers do you have? Chances are it’s nowhere near 1 million — only seven users have that many. Oprah just joined the club as the 8th member. But what’s crazy is that she gained her millionth follower just 28 days after signing up for the service. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/05/14/28-days-later-oprah-races-past-a-million-twitter-followers 5/14)

Oprah twitter

The New York Times is said to be nearing a decision on how to charge for some of its content on the Internet. One proposal will allow a reader to roam freely on the Web site until hitting a predetermined limit of word-count or pageviews, after which a meter will start running. (Iwantmedia 5/15, http://www.observer.com/2009/media/new-york-times-considering-two-plans-charge-content-web 4/15)

Google has rolled out a new recommendations gadget that allows sites that use Google Friend Connect to see which parts of their websites their visitors like best. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/05/15/google-friend-connect-adds-recommendations-gadget 5/15)

Google reco

RealNetworks, which is waging a court battle against Hollywood studios over its DVD-copying software, is now filing antitrust claims against them, saying they are trying to prevent other companies from building products that let consumers legally copy DVDs for personal use. (Iwantmedia 5/15, http://www.informationweek.com/news/personal_tech/drm/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=217500225 5/14)

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia will test a paid download model for access to some of its vast library of online video content next month. The test will make the lifestyle media company the latest media operation to try charging for content online. “It has to happen,” says Stewart. (Iwantmedia 5/15, http://www.smartmoney.com/news/ON/?story=ON-20090514-000657-1426 5/14)

A new screen-sharing app launched today from drop.io, which keeps adding features to its private file-sharing service. The new product is called present.io and it lets you set up a screen-sharing presentation with multiple participants in just a few clicks. Present.io has a lot in common with drop.io’s chat feature which it added last month, except that it looks like this scales to hundreds of participants and is designed specifically for webinars and group presentations. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/05/14/dropio-adds-seamless-screen-sharing-app-with-presentio 5/14)

Roger McNamee, co-founder of Elevation Partners, which bought a big stake in Forbes Media in 2006, is resigning from the Forbes board. The investment firm’s bet that Forbes.com would come to offset the company’s declining print business “proved to be wrong,” he admits. (Iwantmedia 5/15, http://www.nypost.com/seven/05152009/business/at_forbes_media__the_knives_are_coming_169342.htm 5/15)

Cablevision, the New York-area cable-television provider, is in talks to offer an interactive travel service to subscribers in competition with Web sites such as Expedia and Orbitz. The service would allow Cablevision customers to book trips through their TV sets. (Iwantmedia 5/15, http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a.qDlgdX26JA 5/15)

Cablevision Systems Corp., which has set up thousands of Wi-Fi hot spots in the Long Island, Connecticut and Westchester-Dutchess, N.Y., areas, has announced that it has expanded its high-speed wireless Web access in New Jersey to include areas such as Shore Points and Morris, Ocean and Monmouth counties. Bethpage, N.Y.-based Cablevision also said that it was now offering Wi-Fi speeds up to 3 Mbps, which is double its previous offering. Forbes/The Associated Press (5/14)

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ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA by Marauder

ONLINE SERVICES/INTERACTIVE MEDIA

Disney‘s deal to take an equity stake in Hulu and put video content on the site isn’t a threat to the media giant’s existing businesses, says CEO Bob Iger. Hulu will allow Disney to add new revenue streams and combat the rise of digital piracy. “We think we can expand the audience.” (Iwantmedia 5/6, http://www.smartmoney.com/news/ON/?story=ON-20090505-000689-1813 5/5)

hulu1

Social media is coming to Warner Bros. Television’s Web sites, thanks to a property at Time Warner sibling AOL called Socialthing. A feed of members’ activity on sites such as TheWB.com and TheCW.com will be displayed on their Socialthing profiles for their online “friends” to see.  (Iwantmedia 5/6,

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13577_3-10233896-36.html 5/5)

U.S. Congress is considering a bill that could force radio companies to pay royalties of as much as $500 million a year to record labels and artists whose music they play. If the deal goes through, it could change the economics in the struggling music industry. (Iwantmedia 5/6, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124156573280489397.html 5/6)

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