on July 26, 2012 at 1:25 PM
There are several newsworthy and interesting developments that are happening in the streaming and related industries. Here are the highlights:
- Roku has some heavy-hitting partners joining them in their venture to dominate the set-top box industry worldwide. Rupert Murdoch's mega media empire, News Corp., has stakes its claim to the tune of $45 million in Roku Inc., which includes placing one of their senior executives, Chief Digital Officer Jon Miller, on Roku's board of directors. Additionally, Sky Broadcasting in the United Kingdom is also investing in Roku's future. Roku says this demonstrates "the industry's confidence in Roku as the leading distribution platform to bring streaming entertainment to mainstream consumers."
- In a joint venture, Verizon and Coinstar are seeking to be a formidable force in the consumer home streaming industry. Redbox Instant by Verizon has just entered internal alpha testing yesterday; the goal for beta launch is in the next few months, with full service being released to the public later this year. As a subscription-based service, it will be a direct competitor to Netflix and Hulu Plus. Additionally, it will continue to offer DVDs at the familiar and popular red kiosks found all over the United States, and now in Canada. Bob Mudge, president of Verizon Consumer and Mass Business Markets says "The joint venture will combine the accessibility and value of Redbox with Verizon's vision for a borderless lifestyle, where consumers easily accomplish what they want or need to do, on their terms, through the power of the network. Together, we are erasing old technology boundaries, freeing people to spontaneously enjoy the entertainment they want, whenever they choose, using the devices and media they prefer, at home or away."
- Meanwhile, according to Reed Hastings, Netflix is getting serious about the much anticipated family plan. He notes that currently large households may need two streaming subscriptions tied to different television sets and devices in order to satisfy families wishing to stream simultaneously different programming. Hasting says he wants to be an extreme value to those families by providing a family plan with up to four simultaneous streams, which ultimately would be a discount for higher consumption of video content. He states this will not be a revenue-generating business model, but more one that extends goodwill to current customers. No word on whether the various streams will be able to be more personalized in terms of parental controls. Currently a single account has global parental control settings. While parents can lift the parental controls to watch more mature content, the titles of said content are still listed in the "recently watched" history. Additionally, there are many titles such as workout videos that are listed as "not rated", which are considered mature content even though they are not. This has personally been an issue for me, and avid fitness buff, who wants access to to Crunch Fitness or Yoga, but has to lift the parental controls, which means more potential issues for my children to access inappropriate content, including content I viewed in the recently watched history.
- More Netflix news . . . Kelly Bennett from Warner Bros. has been hired as Netflix's Chief Marketing Officer. In his former role, Bennett oversaw the online international advertising campaigns for many blockbuster movies. He replaces Leslie Kilgore after a series of what many consider some missteps on Netflix's part. Last year Netflix hired Jonathan Friedland from Walt Disney Co. s their new Chief Communications Officer.
Finally, the opening ceremony of the Olympics in London is tomorrow night, although the Men's & Women's Soccer events were live beginning yesterday morning. There are free live feed sources, including the NBC Olympics Live Extra, the official live streaming app of the 2012 summer Olympics for US viewers, available through iTunes. It's important to note that some of the features require a cable subscription authentification, but users can access a variety of alternative camera angles, access to full replays, and more. You can also watch video from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Canadian residents can access the CTV Olympics London 2012 free app as well.
Are you a photo buff? Check out Reuters Olympics London 2012 app.