FUNimation Sues 1,400 Torrent Downloaders

Martial arts movie fans that downloaded the action flick The Legend Is Born: IP Man earlier this month could get a letter from the movie’s U.S. distributor soon, asking them for a big lump of cash: FUNimation has sued 1427 alleged BitTorrent downloaders of the film.

YouTube Expands Video Rental Program

Last month, YouTube rolled out a new rental service that allowed users to rent independent films from the Sundance film festival. But now, despite weak demand for those films, YouTube has quietly expanded the video rental program with a number of niche content providers.

YouTube’s rental offering started with five independent movies that had been featured at Sundance over the last two years. Those movies, which include the 2009 Sundance Audience Winner The Cove, cost $3.99 each for a 48-hour viewing window. But neither YouTube nor the independent filmmakers involved made a lot of money from the offering. According to the NY Times, those films received a combined 2,684 views by the time the promotion ended, netting YouTube just $10,709.16 in rentals.

While YouTube hasn’t publicized the expansion of its rental program (and has not returned calls for comment), a quick search for participating content providers reveals a number of video publishers in niche verticals that have signed up to take part in it. The rental program, which is currently in beta, has content from a number of anime, fitness and travel video distributors, among others. The price of the rentals and the length of the viewing windows appears to differ by publisher, suggesting that they’re the ones who set the price and length of time during which viewers can watch those videos.

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Vid-Biz: GRP, Metranome, Cable Cos

Mindshare Pushes Gross Ratings Point Standard for Web Video; developed with YuMe, the metric allows ad buyers to more directly compare effectiveness of TV and and broadband buys. (Ad Age)
Metranome Launches White Label Product for Mobile Video; Poptiq Powered lets content owners create applications around their brands; 60Frames and DadLabs have signed on. (release)
Cable Companies Working on New Content Delivery Methods; would allow for easier transport of video beyond the TV to other devices in the house and could turn your cable system into a mini on-demand video Internet. (Bits Blog)
Hallmark Channel, USC Teaming Up For Lifestage Study; research will look at how content and media devices are used as people move from one stage of their lives to the next (i.e. from student to worker, from single to married, etc.). (Multichannel News)
Behind the Scenes at a Netflix Distribution Center; a neat photo gallery showing how all those red envelopes get stuffed and sent out to you. (
FUNimation to Stream Toei Anime Online; subtitled versions of classic cartoons such as Fist of the North Star and Captain Harlock to appear on the site. (Variety)
VLC Looking for Mac OS X Developers; popular open-source media player project suffering from a lack of active Mac programmers; those interested should get in touch with the team. (OStatic)