UK gets 4G competition as Vodafone and O2’s networks go live

Three carriers now offer super-fast mobile broadband services in the UK, although EE has had a valuable headstart on its rollout. Underdog Three will join the party in December — and unlike the others, it won’t charge a premium for 4G.

Dish gets its 4G approval; Sprint gets its 4G auction

Dish finally has permission to become a full-fledged cellular network operator, though it remains to be seen whether it will actually become one. The FCC also set the wheels rolling for an auction next year of new 4G licenses that Sprint has been eyeing.

Everything You Need to Know About the Fight for TV Spectrum

This week, the broadcast industry is meeting in Las Vegas. However, amid this collegial gathering of industry folks a $33 billion fight is brewing. The fight is nothing short of an entertainment battle royal with TV on one side and the iPhone on the other.

Open Box Technologies Goes Up for Auction on eBay

What do you do when your company has run out of cash and can’t seem to raise any more, but hasn’t been able to find a buyer through the usual channels? If you’re Open Box Technologies, you sell yourself on eBay.

The company has raised $2.5 million from angel and early-stage investors since being founded in 2005, but couldn’t close additional funding necessary to keep it alive. So now, in an effort to find a buyer, Open Box Technologies, along with its white-label video publishing platform SesameVault, has gone up for auction on eBay. The Open Box auction began this morning at 9:01 am EST, and will conclude a week later, on Feb. 24 at 9:01 am EST.

The company isn’t the first to sell itself on eBay; in 2006, web calendar firm Kiko put itself up for sale on the auction site, and was bought by Tucows for $258,000. But Kiko, which was founded by Justin Kan (who went on to found live streaming firm Justin.tv), was built for about $50,000, which was the reserve price of the eBay auction. Given the amount of funding that it has raised over the past five years, Open Box Technologies CEO Cameron Brain says he hopes to sell for much more than what Kiko received.

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Web Series Branding Opps to Be Auctioned Off, Starting at $50,000

Product placement has been key to the production of many web series recently, but it’s about to hit a new level. Brand In Entertainment, a Los Angeles firm specializing in partnering brands with content, will be holding its first-ever auction Jan. 20 at Christie’s in New York for companies interested in inserting their brands into a number of major media properties, including the upcoming Keanu Reeves movie Henry’s Crime and the Showtime series Weeds.

And included in the stable of content being offered are new seasons of five web series: Streamy-nominated post-apocalyptic drama After Judgment, Beverly Hills 90210 producer Charles Rosin’s Showbizzle, “broadband motion picture” Who Shot Mamba, Wall Street comedy series Hedge Fund, and The Fine Brothers’ My Profile Story (only the pilot of which was produced by Atom.com). (Blake Calhoun’s Pink was originally one of the web series to be included, but its deal with production company Generate prevents it from seeking third-party sponsorship deals. According to a Generate rep, Pink and Blake Calhoun
are not contractually prohibited from seeking third-party deals, but
the show was prematurely submitted for the auction and withdrawn per
Generate’s request)

My Profile Story

The minimum bid at the auction will be $50,000, to be advanced in $20,000 increments, which may seem trivial to a brand getting a shot at Keanu drinking its beer or wearing its apparel, but is a significant amount of money in the web series world, where complete series are often produced on a professional level with much less of a budget. Read More about Web Series Branding Opps to Be Auctioned Off, Starting at $50,000

Recession Scorecard: DVDs Down, Hulu & The Pirate Bay Up

The accelerating economic downturn is taking its toll on the entertainment industry, with DVD sales lagging and Blu-ray sales disappointing, according to the New York Times. DVD sales are down 4 percent so far this year, the paper reports, citing data collected by Warner Brothers. The results for the third quarter are even worse, with a 9 percent drop overall and a steep 22 percent decline for new titles, according to numbers from Nielsen VideoScan quoted by the Times.

Meanwhile, free online content is doing better than ever. Hulu attracted 5.3 million unique visitors in October, a nearly 90 percent surge over the previous month. The Pirate Bay doubled the number of simultaneously connected users within the last six months, reaching a total of 25 million peers in November. The site’s admins apparently couldn’t quite believe their logs either, asking somewhat perplexed: “Wtf is going on(?)” The answer, in short, is this: We are in a recession.

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