The UFC is looking to crack down on illegal live streams of its pay-per-view events, subpoenaing live streaming sites Justin.tv and Ustream to get the IP addresses needed to identify and shut down users that have made videos of those events available for free online.
How long should you expect a plug-in car battery — the most expensive part of the vehicle — to last before dwindling storage capacity or other problems leave you longing for a replacement? This question opens a hornet’s nest of vehicle emission regulations.
Today the DOE has awarded $92 million for 43 new projects under the highly competitive ARPA-E program for high risk greentech research, marking the last of the ARPA-E grants to be funded under the Recovery Act.
Plug-in hybrid vehicle startup Fisker Automotive has closed its latest equity financing round at $189 million — a major step toward meeting the venture’s cost sharing requirements for green car projects backed by Uncle Sam.
A pilot project for testing plug-in hybrids and smart charging tech that Toyota and EDF have been developing for years is finally ready for a large-scale demo. Starting this month about 100 plug-in versions of Toyota’s Prius will be leased in the area.
Jibjab co-founders and brothers Evan and Gregg Spiridellis are pulling no punches in an interview that NewTeeVee reader and CinemaTech blogger Scott Kirsner was kind enough to pass on to us. Asked if advertising works for his industry, Gregg responds: “To support a high-quality produced product at scale — no way. Absolutely no way.” He admits that advertising might work great as part of a larger strategy if you already have your production costs covered, adding: “If someone is saying: I want to do webisodes, I want to produce a series of two-minute comedy shorts and I want to make a lot of money with advertising, I’d say: ‘You’re probably not, but good luck.'”
Creating Engaging Content for the Web: JibJab Media from Scott Kirsner on Vimeo.
Jibjab has been monetizing its content through a mix of subscriptions, digital download sales, ads and partnerships with brands like OfficeMax, for whom the studio has been producing the viral holiday hit Elf Yourself. Jibjab originally inked a number of exclusive distribution deals with portals like Yahoo (s YHOO) and MSN, but it doesn’t pursue that strategy anymore. “YouTube (s GOOG) put a bullet in that brain,” says Gregg Spiridellis. “There (are) no more exclusive distribution deals in a post-YouTube world.” Now, the duo is quite happy to have its content on as many platforms as possible, including Facebook. “We are happy to be a network as opposed to a destination,” Gregg explains.
The duo reminisced a little bit about the early days of web video, when everyone was still on 56k modems, revealing that animation was at that time really just a means to an end — and even that was oftentimes difficult. “Incredibly frustrating in the early years,” remembers Evan Spiridellis, “knowing that you wanted to make this thing that sings, and you had to strip it back to 300k.” You can check out other videos Scott has been doing on his site.
Related content on GigaOm Pro: Are Sponsored Apps the Key for Traditional Media in Mobile?
It’s no secret that Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide (s QTWW) is betting big on plug-in hybrid vehicle startup Fisker Automotive — the green car startup’s genesis was built on a vision of having the well-known luxury car designer Henrik Fisker design a vehicle around a Quantum drivetrain. The risk of that bet comes out loud and clear in Quantum’s latest earnings report, which covers the company’s financial results for the first nine months of the 2010 fiscal year.
Quantum’s revenue sank to just $1.5 million in the third quarter of fiscal year 2010, down from $5.9 million in the same three months of 2009. For the first nine months of fiscal year 2010, revenue dropped to $7.2 million, down from $17 million in the year-earlier period. According to Quantum’s earnings statement, discussed in a call with shareholders this morning, “The decrease in revenue for the third quarter and first nine months of fiscal 2010 is primarily related to delays at Fisker Automotive related to the Fisker Karma development program.”
Read More about Fisker & DOE Loan Delays Deal Blow to Quantum
Some pretty big news on the EV front today. Daimler said it’s eyeing some potential cities in China for an electric version of its Smart Car. Toyota’s making a bigger splash by announcing that the automaker is prepping a plug-in Prius to go on sale in 2011. The fact that the go-to brand for hybrids is committing to bring “several tens of thousands” of the cars to market should help to light a fire under some EV charging infrastructure plans.
Of the $151 million in grants announced this week under ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy), the Department of Energy’s highly competitive program for high-risk, early-stage energy technologies, more than a fifth — some $33 million — has been allocated for green vehicle projects. Since the program is meant to support work on tech that other investors consider too risky, each of the projects — from boosting the fuel economy of gas-powered cars to replacing lithium-ion batteries as the technology of choice for electric vehicles — represent something of a gamble. So when it comes to choosing ideas for transforming the auto industry and cleaning up transportation, how wisely is the DOE placing its chips?
According to Lux Research analyst Jacob Grose, who headed up the firm’s recent report on electric vehicle adoption, this first round of funding (there’s nearly $250 million left in the pot for later rounds) offers support for a strong balance of innovations. “Overall, I think the ARPA-E guys hit all the key areas for vehicle technologies,” by investing in the motors, batteries and electronics for today’s electric vehicles, as well as “some future technologies which are higher risk but may play a role in novel vehicles down the road,” and others that could help boost the MPGs of cars with the ol’ internal combustion engine.
Read More about What the ARPA-E Bets Mean for the Future of Green Cars
Project Nina — the $47,400 plug-in hybrid vehicle that startup Fisker Automotive aims to launch in 2012 — has a home. The Irvine, Calif.-based startup announced this morning that it will buy an old General Motors (s GM) assembly plant in Wilmington, Del., for $18 million drawing funds from the $528.7 million conditional loan it received from the Department of Energy last month. Word got out yesterday that Fisker was in advanced talks to buy the GM facility for the project, and a White House insider told Reuters that Vice President Joe Biden would be on hand at the shuttered facility this morning to announce its reopening. Now we’ve got details.
According to Fisker’s release this morning, the startup expects to invest $175 million over the next three years retooling the facility, which was previously used to assemble Saturn, Pontiac and Opel GT models. By 2014, Fisker plans to have the plant cranking out 75,000-100,000 vehicles per year by 2014. But Fisker aims to sell less than half of those stateside. The rest are slated for export.
Read More about Fisker Details Plans for “Project Nina” at Old GM Plant, Eyes Exports