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

News in Brief - october 2009


ACCORDING to a survey of 4,000 broadband users carried out by Spanish web portal My Computer, 90% of those who download copyright-protected contents form the web do not feel they are committing an illegal action. Indeed, 86% claim not to have been influenced by the anti-piracy campaign. A much lower percentage – 32% – admits to downloading films, TV series, games and music.

SONY DADC Austria and Born Studios have signed a partnering agreement that will integrate the Swedish DVD & Blu-ray producer into Sony DADC’s global authoring and digital services network. The company, to be known as Sony DADC Nordic Authoring, will give Sony DADC a strong foothold in Sweden and Denmark, with a new subsidiary opening in Copenhagen later this year.

APPLE has revamped its iMac range with a video-friendly 1080p 16:9 screen and high-powered graphics that can handle HD resolution content, but it has not added a Blu-ray Disc drive even as an option. Despite rumours that have circulated throughout the year, the only internal optical disc drive option that will be available to buyers of the new range is the SuperDrive, which can read and write DVD discs.

TIM BERNERS-LEE, the British scientist who created the World Wide Web, has admitted his decision to include two forward slashes in internet addresses was a mistake. Originally, the forward slashes at the front of the URLs, the official name given to web addresses, have to be written in otherwise a page won’t load. Now most web browsers usually fill them in even if you only start the web address with just “www".

REED HASTINGS, CEO of Netflix, said in a recent interview in Home Media Magazine that he expect DVD and Blu-ray to continue Netflix's primary delivery format for the next two years. He added that he forecasts DVD to be a part of the company's offering for another 10 to 20 years.

WARNER Entertainment Japan has unveiled plans to launch Warner On Demand, a portal allowing Japanese consumers to rent or buy Warner Bros films and TV series for the first time ever directly from the Studio via VOD and download-to-own on their PCs and mobile phones. Warner Bros aims to make the service available at the end of November. To buy content through Warner On Demand, consumers will purchase a series of points, which will be exchanged per transaction for Warner Bros films or TV content.

UK PAY-TV giant Sky is in talks with media agencies about offering 3D ads to run on its new 3D platform, which will incorporate advertising capabilities. Sky said: "As we prepare to launch a commercial service next year, we've already had some initial discussions with advertisers about the potential for 3D TV, and their enthusiasm for innovating is clear."

SAMSUNG Electronics America has confirmed the immediate availability of Blockbuster's library of digital entertainment for rent or purchase on select 2009 Samsung HDTV sets, Blu-ray players and Blu-ray integrated Home Theatre Systems. The VOD movie rentals range from $2.99 to $3.99, while purchases will typically range from $7.99 to $19.99. Amazon Video On Demand will also be available on select Samsung HDTV sets via a downloadable widget, offering consumers access to Amazon’s selection of over 50,000 titles from leading movie studios and networks.

A SURVEY of Australian consumers' movie rental, downloading and pay TV viewing habits has revealed a significant slice of the population prefer accessing their entertainment through the back door. The national survey by DVD rental chain Network Video found while 17% of Australians said they had thought about illegally downloading content such as movies, a further 14% had done so. The survey also found that just over 68% of Australians preferred to rent a movie over buying or downloading.

THE UK arm of online video company Joost has gone into liquidation. Joost UK, owned by Netherlands-based Joost Technologies, has appointed liquidators David Rubin & Partners LLP. In July Joost CEO Mike Volpi quit the company and it announced it would focus on business-to-business white-labelling. At the time he blamed the self-publishing model taken by broadcasters for the downfall of the video-on-demand service

WAL-MART, that accounts for one-third of all DVD retail sales in the US, plans to eliminate display cases for hot movie titles on DVD and Blu-ray discs, in a move to better organise the stores’ aisles to appeal to higher-end shoppers. The display aisles helped catch the eye of interested shoppers; their removal will likely sharply reduce sales at a time when the studios are already reeling over plunging DVD sales.

Wal-Mart, that accounts for one-third of all DVD retail sales in the US, plans to eliminate display cases for hot movie titles on DVD and Blu-ray discs, in a move to better organise the stores’ aisles to appeal to higher-end shoppers. The display aisles helped catch the eye of interested shoppers; their removal will likely sharply reduce sales at a time when the studios are already reeling over plunging DVD sales.

JEREMY Banks has been promoted to the newly-created position of Director, Anti-Piracy at THE International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). Banks, who has headed the organisation's internet anti-piracy unit for several years, will oversee all of IFPI's London anti-piracy activities. The appointment for the first time brings IFPI's London internet and physical enforcement anti-piracy operations into a single management structure.

IT'S the last picture show - the Polaroid is no more. The US company has shut its instant film factories, and the last collection of Polaroid film passed its expiry date on 30 September.

LOS ANGELES-based adult entertainment studio/distributor Digital Playground continues to push Blu-ray despite industry trends that show adult packaged media sales have plummeted more than 40% due in large part to a saturation of available content (often for free) on the Internet. Just released Sophia Santi in White is the company’s 150th Blu-ray title.

INTERNATIONAL optical media manufacturing trade group Media-Tech Association has appointed Frank Hartwig, CEO of Cinram in Germany, the new VP of its replicators committee. Established in spring 2009, the replicators committee aims to promote Blu-ray Disc and inform Media-Tech members about copy-protection and licensing issues. Founding members include independent companies with production facilities in Europe.

RITEK will issue up to 250 million new shares to raise additional paid-in capital mainly to expand its monthly Blu-ray disc production capacity from one million units currently to two million. The expansion is scheduled to be carried out in the fourth quarter of 2009, according to the Chinese-language newspaper Economic Daily News.