YoutTube launches "Paid Subscriptions"

YouTube launches its paid subscription channels with select partners

youtube yt stars
Summary: YouTube’s long-rumored paid channels are live: The Google-owned service started its new subscription offering with select partners Thursday.

YouTube has officially launched a paid subscription offering, allowing select partners to charge as little as $0.99 per month for access to their content. From the YouTube blog post announcing the new intitiative:

“Every channel has a 14-day free trial, and many offer discounted yearly rates. For example, Sesame Street will be offering full episodes on their paid channel when it launches. And UFC fans can see classic fights, like a full version of their first event from UFC’s new channel. You might run into more of these channels across YouTube. Once you subscribe from a computer, you’ll be able to watch paid channels on your computer, phone, tablet and TV, and soon you’ll be able to subscribe to them from more devices.”

Partners include The Young Turks, UFC, Jim Henson Company, Mark Cuban’s HDNet and the Sesame Workshop. Not all channels are live yet, a first list of 53 initial launch partners can be found here.
Some of the new partners should come as no surprise to paidContent readers: We reported earlier this week that YouTube’s employees have been testing paid channels for the Sesame Workshop, Baby First TV and Cookie Jar TV for months.
YouTube said Thursday that it wants to make subscriptions available as a self-serve feature to select partners soon. Asked how big of a cut YouTube is taking from subscription fees, a spokesperson told me that partners get to keep “the majority share,” without elaborating further.

18 hours ago

NY Times Creates "Web Only" Documentaries

Summary: The New York Times is launching a series of short, web-only documentaries with nonprofit Retro Report. The weekly 10- to 15-minute documentaries will run on the NYT’s baby boomer blog and will examine events of the past.

The New York Times is launching a series of short, web-only documentaries with Retro Report, a nonprofit news organization that aims to investigate “the most perplexing news stories of our past with the goal of encouraging the public to think more critically about current events and the media.”
The videos will air each Monday at the NYT’s baby boomer blog, “Booming,” and on Retro Report’s website. Each will be 10 to 15 minutes long and accompanied by a story by NYT reporter Michael Winerip. The first one, “The Voyage of the Mobro 4000,” looks at the garbage barge of 1987.
The NYT lifted the paywall from all of its video content a couple of weeks ago.
Winerip notes some of the upcoming topics that the documentaries will cover:

“In a coming Retro Report on crack babies — infants born to addicted mothers — we learn that warnings in the 1980s about these children being damaged for life were not supported by the research of the time or by more recent studies. We meet a former crack baby who is now a successful college graduate, with a family of her own. Another video examines the story of Tawana Brawley and her chief supporter, Al Sharpton, who put forth a story of racial violence that turned out to be false and hurt many innocent people. There are video reports on the Tailhook military sexual abuse scandal and the Y2K panic.”

Retro Report was founded earlier this year by Christopher Buck, a former TV editor and heir to the Subway sandwich chain. Kyra Darnton, a former 60 Minutes producer, is managing editor.

May. 6, 2013 – 8:22 AM EDT

Mobile TV lawsuit against Broadcasters

Castle on Aereo TV

photo: Aereo
Summary: Aereo, which sells $8 a month subscriptions to watch TV on mobile devices, has responded to lawsuits from broadcasters by filing an unorthodox suit of its own this week. The suit may be for PR purposes more than legal ones.

Aereo, the controversial service that beams over-the-air TV to mobile devices, is going on legal offense against the broadcasters that are trying to shut it down. On Monday, Aereo asked the U.S. District Court in Manhattan for an order stating that it does not infringe on the broadcasters’ copyright.
The move comes as Aereo, which recently won a major appeals court ruling on nearly the same issue in New York, prepares to offer its service in Boston and 22 other markets as soon as this month. CBS and other broadcasters have vowed to sue to stop Aereo in those new markets, a threat that appears to have led it to file the new court action. (The new filing, reported by AllThingsD, refers to recent public statements and Twitter feeds by CBS executives, including one that says “we’ll sue”).
So what exactly is the meaning of Aereo’s new lawsuit? Here’s what one copyright expert familiar with the issue had to say:

Aereo’s decision to file a separate declaratory judgment action at this stage is unorthodox. They’ve prevailed on a preliminary injunction motion at the district and circuit court level — which means that both the Southern District and the 2d Circuit have ruled they are likely to succeed on the merits — so it’s unusual to seek a declaratory judgment on the same issues.

Recall that the appeals court decision from last month already protects Aereo for the immediate future in the U.S. Second District, a territory that covers the states of New York, Vermont and Connecticut. This means that the new declaratory action Aereo is seeking will not really change any facts on the ground but could give the company another favorable verdict — but not one that will determine its fate in Boston (which is in the First Circuit) or any of the other legal jurisdictions where Aereo plans to open shop.
The most likely explanation, then, is that the move is part of the increasingly pitched PR battle between Aereo and the broadcasters who, in another recent appeal, accused the upstart of creating “havoc” and “massive disruption” in the television industry. The broadcasters have also threatened to pull their signals altogether and distribute their channels, including Fox and ABC, only on pay TV.
Aereo, for its part, argues that its technology, which assigns every subscriber a personal antenna, is akin to private viewing through a DVR system.  The company’s CEO, Chet Kanojia, has accused the broadcasters of extracting exorbitant fees by forcing viewers to accept cable bundles stuffed with channels they don’t want to watch.
Aereo’s new lawsuit, therefore, gives it a way to gain the upper hand on the media message (for a short time at least) – and possibly pick up some additional legal language from a judge who has taken the company’s side in the past.
In the bigger picture, the Aereo fight is part of a great game over the future of the TV industry. Aereo, which is backed by a major investment from media mogul Barry Diller, has also been the subject of acquisition rumors by satellite provider Dish. Broadcasters fear that an alliance between the two companies could provide an end-run around the existing system that requires cable and satellite providers to pay for use of the over-the-air signals.
The final outcome could well end up at the Supreme Court given a current split between the courts in New York and a district court in California, which shut down a similar service to Aereo last year. In the meantime, it’s possible that a patchwork of decisions could result in Aereo being legal in half the country and forbidden in the other half.
In another recent development, the four major sports leagues have joined the anti-Aereo chorus by filing court papers to support the broadcasters’ request that a full panel of the Second Circuit reconsider its decision. The NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball argue that the appeals court was wrong to consider Aereo a “private” transmission like singing in the shower:

An individual who sings a copyrighted lyric in the shower engages in a private performance […] A commercial service (like Aereo) that retransmits the broadcast of a copyrighted television program to thousands of paying subscribers at the same time is not in any way comparable.

Here’s a copy of Aereo’s new lawsuit:
Aereo Complaint for Declaratory Judgment – FINAL FILED

New UK law makes photo robbery legal!!

That got your attention didn’t it – and with good reason.

Helen Oswald

The UK Parliament has just passed a highly controversial law that has been met with outrage across the photography world.
The new Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act allows all so-called ‘orphaned’ work to be used for free. That’s right – photographs and other creative work can be used without explicit permission if the owner cannot be contacted.
All the infringer has to do is prove they performed a “diligent search.”
Most worryingly of all, the law also applies to images that have no metadata. As we know, the majority of websites and social media sites strip out all metadata. Bingo! For the next individual or corporation that comes along, it’s free.
This extraordinary change in the law drives a horse and cart through copyright protection. Before it was illegal to exploit a copyright work without the permission of its owner: now it is legal.
What does ‘diligent’ mean?
The exact workings of the new legislation are yet to be formalised and the full text of the act is not published until Thursday (2 May) so we do not yet know exactly what that vague term “diligent search” means.
Apparently, the searches would have to be verified as diligent by independent authorising bodies. In addition, organisations would have to pay a “market rate” to use orphan works so rights holders could be recompensed for the use of the works if they were later identified.
And just in case you weren’t quite sure just whose side this law is on, it also allows future reforms to exceptions to copyright to be delivered far more easily, through new regulations rather than new Acts of Parliament.
Global fall-out
In a global digital world this law has implications that stretch far beyond the borders of the UK.
As the British Press Photographers’ Association pointed out, this is: “A seemingly innocuous clause in an otherwise largely uncontroversial piece of legislation that will not only harm our industry but also place this country at odds with a vital international treaty.”
Indeed, the law has caught the particular attention of US photographers. In a letter to business minister Vince Cable, whose Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is behind the act, six groups representing US photographers and graphic artists say it breaches international law and warn it will have costly consequences.
Moral rights
At home, UK Photography’s biggest celebrity, David Bailey, has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne MP on behalf of all owners and creators of intellectual property.
He says: “This legislation should never have been even considered without first giving us our moral rights, and is contrary to our right under the Berne Convention.”
The campaign against this law is growing. In the meantime, the only way to protect yourself completely is to register all your images or take them offline completely.

Connected TVs Now in Six of Ten U.S. Broadband Households

By TV TECHNOLOGY on May 03, 2013 2:50 pm

iStockphoto/ pictafolio

iStockphoto/ pictafolio
FRISCO, TEXAS— According to a new analysis by TDG, 56 percent of U.S. broadband households have at least one TV connected to the Internet, either directly via smart TVs or indirectly via ancillary devices, including game consoles and Blu-ray players.

“Whether your goal is delivering OTT services to the TV, or expanding the level of control pay-TV subscribers enjoy, the reality that six in ten broadband households use a connected TV is encouraging news,” notes Michael Greeson, TDG founding partner.

“The In-Home CE and Home Network Ecosystem – 2013,” TDG’S latest report on the connected consumer and digital media space, also found that close to a quarter of these consumers now have two or more connected TVs in their home.
The study also found that, for these households, HD penetration increased to 82 percent, and smart TV penetration doubled in the last year from 12 to 25 percent. Two thirds (69 percent) of smart TVs are now connected to the Internet. Close to a fourth of net-connected game console time is spent viewing video, a rate highest among Sony PS3 users, 29 percent of whom use them for this purpose.
Benchmarking the Connected Consumer, an online study of 2,000 adult broadband users ages 18 to 75 regarding ownership of specific consumer electronic and personal computing devices, the rooms in which these devices were usually located, and the net-connectivity status of each device, was the basis for this study. Respondents were selected at random from an online consumer panel of several million opt-in respondents.

New episodes of All My Children and One Life to Live are airing online

All My Children One Life To Live
Summary: Two years after ABC canceled them, soap operas One Life to Live and All My Children are coming back to life online, with four new 30-minute episodes per week available on Hulu and iTunes. But soap fans who are not used to online viewing may not tune in.

Soap opera fans can rejoice as new episodes of One Life to Live and All My Children start airing online Monday. Two years after ABC canceled them, the soaps are coming back to life — but only in digital format, via Hulu and iTunes.
Production company Prospect Park, which licensed the shows from ABC, will run new, 30-minute episodes of each show Monday through Thursday. (Previously, each episode was an hour long and a new one ran each weekday.) On Fridays, there will be a recap of the week. Episodes are available for free streaming on Hulu and Hulu Plus, or can be downloaded from iTunes for $0.99 apiece or $9.99 per month (20 episodes). The free version of Hulu will only make the most recent episodes available, while Hulu Plus will have all of them.
The New York Times calculated that, because production costs are lower (due in part to having shorter and fewer episodes) and because ads on Hulu can be targeted, Prospect Park needs 500,000 streaming viewers to break even on the soaps. By contrast, the shows attracted three million viewers on TV. In addition, Variety noted that Prospect Park has the rights to sell the the shows to U.S. cable and broadcast networks starting in September (where, in an interesting twist, they’d be available a week after they air online) and is also distributing them to international television networks.
Even so, some longtime fans of the shows who are not accustomed to online viewing may be confused about how to find new episodes online. (That theory is borne out by many of the user comments on this paidContent post from January.) “We would hope that all [fans of the shows] would call their friends to make sure they watch them,” Prospect Park cofounder Rich Frank told Soap Opera Digest recently. “The way to ensure that this is going to work, because we’re really totally advertiser-supported, [is] that we’ve got to get the eyeballs to be watching this. They’ve done it before; it’s just a matter of rallying the troops and getting them to watch.”

Weather.com unveils new web series

The Weather Channel Ipad App 2.0 (Oct. 2011)

Summary: The Weather Company continues to expand beyond its core programming with new web series devoted to adventure and human interest. The new content comes as the company deepens its content and advertising strategies.

The Weather Company, eager to expand beyond its usual fare of snow and storms, announced three new original web series on Monday that will feature athlete amputees, virus pandemics and disaster survivors.
The company says advertisers can be exclusive sponsors of the shows, which consist of six 2 two to four-minute episodes across four screens: smartphone, tablet, web and cable. The shows are titled “I am Unstoppable,” “Virus Hunters” and “Alive,” and will be shown this fall in addition to three other already-announced web series.
For the Weather Company, the original web series are an attempt to tap digital dollars while also expanding its content offerings — which include the Weather Channel and Weather.com — beyond forecasts and national disasters. Weather’s digital editor-in-chief, Neil Katz, announced the details as part of Newfront, a series of events in New York at which video creators are trying to woo Madison Avenue.
The web series comes at a time that the Weather Company is emerging as a formidable data and advertising company. Recently, the company has been comparing itself to Google insofar as it allows marketers to sell in real time based on users’ likely intent — an ice cream company, for instance, could display its ads while the sun is out. It has also been hiring veteran data and ad tech executives.
On the social media front, the Weather Company has been creating personalized products like a custom Twitter forecasts and, as an executive described today, a “social emergency network” that can let people use Facebook to warn loved ones in a given region about an impending weather apocalypse.  It has also been expanding its original TV content.
The Weather Company’s mass audience makes it attractive to advertisers but its histrionic style — which can feel like tragedy tourism — has also attracted ridicule. After a snowfall this year in the northeast, for instance, Gawker displayed a series of screenshots to explain how “Snow panic has driven Weather.com completely Insane.” The company also gained attention for “Torturing its interns with Twitter” — a social media stunt for “tornado week” that involved high-powered fans aimed at interns.
Apr. 29, 2013 – 3:05 PM EDT

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