Lights, camera… Facebook? Netflix CEO joins board

Facebook announced Thursday it has added Reed Hastings, the chairman and CEO of Netflix, to its board of directors. The addition of Hastings to Facebook’s boardroom is the latest signal of the Palo Alto, California-based social networking giant’s growing focus on the entertainment industry.

iOS Versus TV: Social Gaming FTW?

It’s sort of an Apple to oranges type of situation, but a report by analytics firm Flurry nonetheless shows the market potential represented by at least one type of iOS gaming. Social gaming is now arguably as popular as professional football is on any given Sunday.

How an App Store Could Revolutionize the TV Industry

Apple could be facing another round of tough negotiations with content producers like it faced when it introduced the world to digital music and movie downloads. If it is successful though, Apple could revolutionize the marketplace of how we consume television content.

iPad App Roundup: 6 Television & Movie Apps

If you’re a movie and/or television buff, then the iPad may be your new best friend. We’ve got a round up of six different apps to help you consume your favorite televisions shows and movies, from watching them on the iPad to researching them. Enjoy!

Rewind 2009: “Best of” Lists in the iTunes Store

Apple (s aapl) has published the “best” and most popular choices for 2009 at the iTunes Store, and the results are interesting, if not necessarily representative of the world outside the store.

In music, the top-selling album, “Only By the Night” by Kings of Leon, was also chosen as album of the year. Lady GaGa was best new artist, while Michael Jackson was artist of the year. Since the iTunes Store has a catalog of some 10 million songs and roughly accounts for a quarter of music sales, at least in the U.S., both the popular and editorial choices make sense. With movies and television, not so much. Read More about Rewind 2009: “Best of” Lists in the iTunes Store

NewTeeVee Live: PBS Is Not Just Your Grandma’s Network

PBS isn’t just about Antique Roadshow anymore, PBS Interactive SVP Jason Seiken told the audience at our NewTeeVee Live conference today. But he’s the first to admit that PBS isn’t really the hippest brand around. The average age of PBS television viewers is “pushing 60,” he estimated. Consider that countless Elmo-addicted toddlers actually bring that age way down, and you start to understand that PBS has a bit of an age issue.
That’s a problem that the network wants to solve with an online video platform it launched this spring, and Seiken was happy to report that these efforts are starting to pay off. Forty-eight percent of PBS Video visitors are under 35, he said, and the youngsters seem to dig PBS programming as well. Viewers tune into a stream for 26 minutes on average, which is far longer than many commercial platforms. PBS is clocking 12 million uniques a month for its video site, and video views are growing 80 percent month to month.
One of the more interesting aspects of the site is that it’s also a content repository for PBS’ 357 local member stations. These stations can take shows like Frontline or NOVA and combine them on their own sites with small-town news and other local programming. PBS wants to make this relationship a two-way street next year with the launch of the site’s next version, which will automatically syndicate locally produced content and present it to a national audience.
So what’s the secret of the site’s success? Failure, actually. Seiken said that performance reviews at PBS Interactive now track the times an employee failed at their job, with the goal being not to punish, but to reward failed experiments. “Our engineers actually really love this,” said Seiken.

Online Video Viewing Up, Impact on TV “Negligible”

Television is still king, despite gains being made online. That’s according to two separate research reports released today. Taken together, the studies from Nielsen and Leichtman Research Group (LRG) also help illustrate how newteeve is impacting oldteevee (hint: it isn’t).

In its A2/M2 Three Screen Report for the fourth quarter of 2008, Nielsen found that video consumption is up across all three video screens. In the U.S. each month the average TV watcher soaks in 151 hours of television (an all-time high), the average online video viewer watches some three hours’ worth of content on the web, and people who use mobile video watch almost four hours of video on their phones and other wireless devices.


The overall number of people watching video across the three screens is up as well, with the number of people watching time-shifted television jumping 37 percent year over year to stand at almost 74 million vs. nearly 54 million people in the fourth quarter of 2007.


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Vid-Biz: Soulja Boy, Kaltura, Conchords

Soulja Boy Gets Animated Web Series; Interscope records to launch Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em: The Animated Series, which follows the rapper as he returns to high school (Alfonso Ribiero will play the principal!). (The Hollywood Reporter)

WNYCWNET/Thirteen New York Signs Kaltura; prominent public television station taps the open source white label video management company for the show Worldfocus. (

Watch the Season 2 Premiere of Flight of the Conchords Now; New Zealand’s fourth favorite folk rock novelty act is back — find them on Funny or Die before they return to HBO. (Funny or Die)

Demand for Place-Shifting TV Growing; new survey shows that 33 percent of U.S. broadband households are looking for ways to access their media content from outside their home. (Parks Associates)

NY Governor Mulls an “iPod Tax;” Paterson looking to make up budget shortfalls by potentially adding local sales tax for “digitally delivered entertainment services.” (NY Daily News)

Sony PS3 Now Supports GridCast TV; GridNetworks’ technology allows content owners to stream video directly to the game console. (release)

Television for iPhone Now Available; app doesn’t deliver live TV, but does have on-demand video from CNN, CBS, VH-1 and others. (CrunchGear)

Joost iPhone App: A Bit Disappointing

Personally, I can’t get enough of the new podcast features rolled out in the iPhone/iPod touch 2.2 firmware update. They’re now an indispensable part of my daily commuting. That’s why I was looking forward to Joost for the iPhone (free). It seemed to have the potential to provide the same kind of time-killing power and more, because of its library of content, which includes popular film and television shows. The app comes with some caveats, however, and it remains to be seen whether those limitations will prevent the app from reaching its full potential.

First strike, although it doesn’t affect users in the U.S., international iPhone owners may be disappointed in the library of available content. Unless you’re a huge fan of Naruto, which seems to make up all of the Anime video section. Many services encounter problems when trying to pick up international distribution rights for all types of media. Pandora is one high profile example, as is Hulu for video. That doesn’t mean there won’t be more content available in future. The Xbox Live Marketplace has brought video to Canada and other markets, albeit behind their American launch.
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Apple DVR: Will it ever happen?

With Sony announcing a DVR for the PS3, what are the odds Apple will make a similar move?  Sony and Apple are very different companies. What drives Sony may not drive Apple.

These days, Sony seems lost.  They missed out on the digital audio player market after being the dominant player in the portable audio market.  The PS3 has not been warmly received.  The XBOX 360 was given a one year head start and is hitting its stride while the PS3 languishes.  The Nintendo Wii is the darling of the casual gamers with its low price and is the antithesis of the PS3 in styling with its compact white form-factor as opposed to the PS3’s gigantic black curved box.  Sony is trying desperately to make the PS3 the only set top box you need in your entertainment center.  It’s a gaming machine, a next-generation DVD player, and will soon be a DVR.  The PS3 is either a jack of all trades or is having an identity crisis.

Apple hasn’t seemed lost in years.  It is the leader in the DAP market and has quickly become a major player in the cell phone market.  With Apple dropping “Computer” from its name, Apple is clearly focused on the consumer electronics market.  So why would Apple even bother adding a DVR to its lineup of gadgets?  The argument against an Apple DVR is simple.  Apple and studios make money when people purchase their shows or movies from iTunes.  A DVR would diminish purchases from the iTunes store.  Plus, the iTunes DRM locks the content to Apple products like the iPod or the Apple TV.
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