Europe's online source of news, data & analysis for professionals involved in packaged media and new delivery technologies

News in Brief - march 2014


MITCH SINGER, head of Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) that developed and managed the UltraViolet cloud-based digital locker system, said to the Australian Financial Review that the age of licensing films and television shows country by country could soon be over as consumers seek out content online regardless of geographic restrictions. "Ultimately, exclusivity on a global basis may just simply go away." Bypassing geoblocking, consumers are increasingly using software such as virtual private networks to skirt locally-based access restrictions. Singer said the trend toward consumers bypassing geoblocks on websites to access content outside of their intended country could push studios towards global content deals.

WHILE many of the world's leading TV companies start thinking about transmitting 4K/Ultra-HD-1 as the industry's 'next step,' it seems the Japanese remain committed to their Super Hi-Vision/8K broadcasts. Japanese public broadcaster NHK stated on March 17 that it will carry out test transmissions in 8K to start in 2016, "and full broadcasting service in 2020, the year of Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics." To showcase its 8K technology NHK says it will install a 350in cinema-style screen at the upcoming NAB in Las Vegas (7-10 April), complete with 22.2 channel sound.

CHANGES in British households' use of digital technology lie behind several of this year's changes to the basket of 699 goods and services used by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to measure inflation in the UK. DVD rental/video-on-demand subscription services like Netflix are in, while DVD recorders are out. The cost of these items goes towards calculating the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) each month.

A SCHOOLBOY was awarded £15,197 in compensation after he sustained a 'tiny cut to the eyebrow' when a teacher threw a DVD case to him. The plastic case accidentally hit the secondary school pupil in the head, with the boy's family successfully claiming the five-figure pay-out from Essex County Council, UK. The council said the member of staff was attempting to pass the DVD cover to the pupil but "unintentionally threw it with more force than expected and it accidentally hit him."

DIGITALSMITHS, a wholly-owned subsidiary of TiVo, has published the results of its Q4 2014 Video Trends Report, which found that almost one-third (30.9%) of consumers surveyed are overwhelmed by the number of channels offered to them and 88.2% consistently watch the same channels. Despite the ever growing choice of pay-TV content, 46% of respondents spend 10 minutes or more channel surfing per day, but a resounding 80.3% of consumers still watch only 10 or fewer channels.

ACCORDING to a recent study that was published in the Los Angeles Times, almost 18% of Americans thought Blu-ray was a marine animal.

IRISH video retail and rental chain Xtra-Vision has outlined plans to expand the number of its video rental kiosks throughout Ireland. In October 2013, Xtra-Vision partnered with convenience stores Spar and Eurospar to launch rental kiosks offering DVDs and Blu-ray Discs (BD) from £2.99. It remains unclear how many new kiosks will be added. Retailer recovery specialist Hilco acquired the Irish chain in June 2013 for around £8m after it entered receivership in April. Hilco, also current owners of HMV, confirmed in June that at least four HMV stores in Ireland would re-open following investment and would work to integrate the HMV brand into Xtra-Vision stores.

ACCORDING to Jill Lesser - Executive Director of the US's Center for Copyright Information (CCI) - a collaborative effort between content creators and leading IPSs to help educate the public and deter copyright infringement - a voluntary agreement between the entertainment industry and major Internet providers that aims to reduce online piracy through peer-to-peer networks by sending warnings to users is proving effective. The notices escalate if infringement continues up to six notices; the first notice alerts the subscriber that infringement is happening while the fifth and sixth come with 'mitigation measures,' such as temporarily slowed Internet speeds.