Blue Planet II has been so popular, it slowed China’s internet to a crawl

The power of Attenborough knows no bounds.

There’s no debating that Sir David Attenborough is a national treasure, but it turns out he might be a global one, too. (Well if anyone deserves such an accolade, it’s David.)

Because it’s not just British viewers who have been completely captivated by the naturalist’s latest documentary, Blue Planet II – it’s Chinese audiences, as well.

Apparently broadcasting’s answer to Kim Kardashian West, Attenborough has managed to pretty much break the internet over in China. Now that’s impressive.

Blue Planet II

 ©  BBC

According to The Times, so many viewers tuned in to watch Blue Planet II‘s latest episode on the Tencent Video online channel that the country’s internet slowed down to a crawl.

It’s believed that around 80 million viewers have watched the first two episodes of Blue Planet‘s sequel so far, dwarfing the UK’s equally brilliant ratings of 14 million viewers each.

Last night’s (November 12) instalment of the series explored the ocean’s coral reefs, revealing that almost half of the world’s reefs have been affected by bleaching, threatening their existence.

Blue Planet II, A coral grouper on the Great Barrier Reef in Northern Australia

 ©  BBC

Understandably, viewers were left feeling both awestruck and devastated, with many lamenting that human nature is to blame for the destruction of such an “amazing and beautiful place”.

‘Blue Planet sometimes feels like a love letter to a dying planet,’ one user wrote.

Written by : Rianne Houghton

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Sony adds Amazon Alexa controls to Bravia TVs

Selected models of Sony Android TVs are now compatible with Amazon Alexa via a firmware update for the UK and US.

With the update, Amazon Alexa-enabled devices – Amazon Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Show, and Echo Dot – can be used to control Sony 4K HDR BraviaTV models powered by the Android TV operating system.

Users can ask Alexa to perform commands like ‘turn on my Living Room TV’ or ‘change channel to BBC One HD on my living room TV’.

The integration supports basic TV functions like controlling the TV’s power, volume, and play, pause, and fast forward controls, as well as switching inputs and changing channels.

“This is a great example of Sony’s commitment to delivering a wide range of innovative technologies to our customers,” said Mike Somerset, TV marketing manager, Sony UK.

“Through our award winning Bravia range with the Android platform we are able to offer compatibility to consumers who have an Amazon Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Show and Echo Dot device in their home to use their devices to interact with the home entertainment experiences made possible by Sony Bravia.”

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Written by : DTVE Reporter


Channel 4 in European TV ad alliance to take on Google and Facebook

Deal will allow advertisers to run campaigns on video-on-demand that could potentially reach up to 160 million viewers

Channel 4, which offers shows including Great British Bake Off, Gogglebox, Humans and Hunted via All4, will be the exclusive UK partner in the alliance, the European Broadcaster Exchange (EBX).

Advertisers will be able to book pan-European campaigns across Channel 4’s All4 and equivalent online TV services operated by Germany’s ProSiebenSat1, France’s TF1 and Mediaset, which has operations in Italy and Spain. The broadcasters claim their VOD services reach more than 160 million viewers a month.

Channel 4, which has reported more than 20% annual growth in its video service to more than 60 million monthly viewers, has taken a 25% stake in the joint venture for an undisclosed sum.

Broadcasters have started to make increasing amounts of money from catch-up TV services, with Channel 4’s digital revenues climbing 24% last year to £102m.

However, there are fears that the sheer scale of Google’s YouTube and Facebook’s online video could limit the commercial growth of broadcasters’ VOD services. They also fear that marketers’ spend on TV advertising could be lost to online video.

The Silicon Valley giants already snap up as much as 90% of every new £1 of online advertising money spent in the UK.

Broadcasters are are attempting to attract more digital marketing money by focusing on the issues facing Google and Facebook, including ads running next to inappropriate content such as extremist sites and fake news.

“The demand for multi-territory digital ad campaigns in brand safe and transparent environments is increasing,” said Jonathan Lewis, head of digital and partnership innovation at Channel 4. “The video ad market continues to grow exponentially across Europe.”

EBX will launch next year with its headquarters based in London.


Written by: Mark Sweney

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ABC restructure: biggest shake-up in broadcaster’s history to be revealed

Exclusive: Michelle Guthrie’s overhaul, which aims to remove divisions between TV, radio and online, will be unveiled on Tuesday

Twelve months in the making, a small fortune in consultants’ fees and countless “cascade sessions” and leadership principles workshops later, Michelle Guthrie’s Transformation Project will be unveiled on Tuesday.

The ABC board has ticked off on the structure, the communications strategy – which includes not confirming the date – is in place and the message is clear: this is not about job losses, this is about reorganisation.

Led by Guthrie’s handpicked, largely female, executive team, the project will see the ABC silos of television and radio broadcasting – created over the past 85 years – smashed up and rebuilt as a platform-agnostic corporation for the digital age.

Instead of a TV division making television and a radio division making radio programs there will be, for example, an Indigenous unit making Indigenous content for TV, radio and online.

The corporation will be managed through four pillars, said to be news, investigations and analysis; local and regional; original content; and culture and entertainment.

Leading the transformation has been business transformation expert and corporate consultant Debra Frances.

Frances, who has been brought in-house and given the official title of “head of transformation”, exemplifies the new corporate style of managers at the ABC. The ambitious producers and journalists who once rose to the top to manage the public broadcaster have been replaced by business school graduates without a background in content-making. Of the 11-person executive fewer than half are from a content background, and that includes Guthrie herself, who is a corporate lawyer.

Guthrie also briefly brought in one of Rupert Murdoch’s longtime managers, Jim Rudder, to work on the reorganisation of news operations but he was in and out in less than three months.

Along with Frances, the team includes the chief finance officer, Louise Higgins, who was brought in from Nova Entertainment and the chief digital and information officer, Helen Clifton, who was also hired externally. The director of audiences, Leisa Bacon, and the director of engagement, Samantha Liston, were former managing director Mark Scott appointees who were promoted by Guthrie.

The transformation, according to Guthrie, is essential because: “We are not set up optimally to achieve our audience targets and charter remit.”

There have been signposts the ABC is about to change. In August the broadcaster advertised for a “traffic manager”, a newly created position concerned with directing the content which is produced down the correct street. If the ABC has several staff producing health content, for example, for many platforms, then someone needs to be in charge of steering it in the right direction.

Audience research has been the driving force of the renewal of Aunty. Coming from a data-driven background at Google, Guthrie is all about research and data on audiences.

“We need to keep building our understanding of audiences,” she told staff earlier in the year. “To step up investment in research/data on audience behaviour and push this insights out to all ABC teams. We then need to use this insight in commissioning decisions and the review of ABC programs and content.”

In her speech to ABC Friends public conference last month Guthrie outlined her one overarching ambition.

“To make the ABC as relevant or more so to my children and their children,” she said. “While the act and charter provide continuity, relevance cannot be guaranteed.

“As history has shown, the ABC must constantly adapt to technology, to audience trends, to funding pressures, to ensure it delivers for all Australians. What I want is to maintain the role of the ABC as Australia’s most important cultural institution: to link the past, the present and the future.”

Written by : Amanda Meade

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Apple has Netflix and Amazon in sights as it hires British TV executive

Channel 4’s Jay Hunt who poached Bake Off from BBC and commissioned hit shows like Sherlock appointed creative chief of European video operations

Apple has hired the television executive who masterminded Channel 4’s £75m poaching of The Great British Bake Off from the BBC, in an ambitious move to take on traditional broadcasters and digital rivals Netflix and Amazon.

The US tech firm has hired Jay Hunt, who has held top roles at Channel 4, the BBC and Channel 5, and whose credits include British hits such as Sherlock, Luther, Humans and Gogglebox. She was also behind deals to bring US series such as Homeland and The Handmaid’s Tale to the UK.

Hunt, who abruptly resigned in June as Channel 4’s chief creative officer after missing out on the top job, takes the new role of creative chief at Apple’s European video operations.

Her appointment signals Apple’s serious TV and film intentions. It is the the third major Silicon Valley firm to take up television and film production, once a forte of Hollywood studios.

Hunt, 50, will report to Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, Apple’s worldwide video heads, who were poached from Sony Pictures Television in June.

Tremaine, Twaine and Tristan in Gogglebox
 Tremaine, Twaine and Tristan in Gogglebox. Photograph: Jude Edginton/Channel 4

Hollywood was stunned by the signing of the duo. At Sony the two were responsible for striking the £100m co-production deal with Netflix to make The Crown, and had overseen production of hit shows including Breaking Bad and The Blacklist.

Hunt, who left Channel 4 in September after the successful launch of the new-look Bake Off, will start work at Apple in January.

One of the UK’s most senior TV executives, Hunt has been responsible for running Channel 4’s £630m annual budget for the past six years, with credits spanning the London 2012 Paralympics and celebrity winter sports show The Jump, to Isis drama The State and dystopian drama Black Mirror.

Apple has also hired rival Amazon’s Morgan Wandell, who was involved in high-profile series including The Man in the High Castle and upcoming Tom Clancy adaptation, Jack Ryan, as its head of international creative development.

Apple has earmarked $1bn over the next year to make at least 10 TV shows. It has so far only dipped its toe into original programming, striking a deal to spin the popular Carpool Karaoke segment from James Corden’s late night US TV show into a series. There was also Planet of the Apps – a sort of Dragons’ Den featuring Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jessica Alba.

The company also reportedly recently struck a deal with Steven Spielberg to revive the 1980s anthology series, Amazing Stories.

The Handmaid’s Tale
 The Handmaid’s Tale. Photograph: MGM/Hulu

Earlier this month, Apple scrapped a 10-part biopic on Elvis Presley, which was to have been produced by The Weinstein Company, following sexual assault allegations against co-founder Harvey Weinstein.

Apple’s expansion follows rival Netflix revealing that it intends to spend up to $8bn on making and buying TV programmes and films next year, a significant increase on its $6bn budget this year.

Amazon, which spends an estimated $4.5bn annually on shows including Jeremy Clarkson’s Grand Tour for its Prime Video service, was hit last week by the departure of Amazon Studios head Roy Price after allegations of sexual harassment.

The division has been further rocked by the announcement this week of the departure of Joe Lewis, Amazon’s head of scripted programming, and Conrad Riggs, head of streaming for the unscripted division. They are not thought to be connected to the harassment scandal engulfing Hollywood.

Written by : Mark Sweney

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comScore: UK YouTube viewers watch 311 videos each per month

In the UK some 37.1 million adults watched an average of 311 videos each on YouTube during July, according to comScore stats.

The Video Metrix Multi-Platform study (VMX MP) – which claims to deliver a single, unduplicated measure of digital video consumption across devices – claims that 11.6 billion videos were watched on YouTube in total during the month.

The study of UK adults aged 18 and over said that 79% of YouTube videos were consumed on a mobile device and that 74% of viewing time was on a mobile. The average viewing time was 3.7 minutes per video.

ComScore found that the gender divide between YouTube viewers was equally split 49% female and 51% male – but that viewing skewed towards younger viewers.

People aged 18-35 accounted for 53% of all minutes and 56% of all videos viewed in the month.

The share of videos by age breaks was 23% among 18-24 year-olds, 33% by 25-34 year-olds and 24% by 35-44 year-olds. People aged 45-54 watched 12% of videos and those aged over 55 just 8%, according to the stats.

The average number of YouTube videos watched per viewer also decreased with age. In the month people aged 18-24 watched a massive 486.6 videos each on average, compared to 96 videos per viewer among those aged 55 and over.

“It’s not surprising to hear that YouTube is oftentimes a daily destination for most millennials,” said the report.

“UKOM approved YouTube data from comScore, showcased that 11.6 billion videos were watched on the platform and 79% of videos were consumed on a mobile device in July 2017.”

UK Online Measurement Company (UKOM) is an industry governed, multi-platform audience measurement that recently endorsed comScore’s VMX MP product.

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Disney releases DisneyNow, a new app that combines live TV, on-demand, games and music

Disney’s streaming service may still be years away, but the company this week has launched a new app for streaming Disney’s series, Disney Channel movies, live TV and music all under one roof, with the release of DisneyNow. The app is designed to consolidate Disney’s existing “Watch” streaming apps into one, including Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior and Radio Disney.

That suite of TV apps, aimed at kids 2 to 14 years old, have been downloaded over 40 million times since 2012, the company says. To some extent, it made sense to keep them as separate properties – after all, what a 2-year old wants to watch will be very different from a young teenager.

But times are changing. While it made sense for each property to have its own space on linear TV, it’s more cumbersome to have multiple apps installed on our devices for access to content from a single provider.

To address this problem, Disney has added personalization features within the new DisneyNow app so kids (or parents) can customize the app to their programming interests. In addition, there’s a “Disney Junior Only” mode that parents can enable if they want to keep the app focused on preschool-appropriate programming.

What’s also interesting about the new app is that it gives you an idea of how Disney’s forthcoming streaming service may work.

In DisneyNow, for example, each user can set up a profile for themselves, and select from over 180 Disney Emoji avatar character poses to associate with their account. Kids can then customize their setup by choosing their favorite characters and shows, and then receive recommendations about what to watch next.

The app will also remember where users left off, so they can resume watching the next time they log in.

And like Disney’s upcoming streaming service has planned, DisneyNow app offers a combination of content – not just shows and movies. There are also games, music, and special performances available, too.

The app will include the ability to watch live, linear TV channels, as well as on-demand, in-season TV shows from its networks, like: “Andi Mack,” “Raven’s Home,” “Bizaardvark,” “Stuck in the Middle,” “Tangled: The Series”; Disney Junior’s “Vampirina,” “Elena of Avalor,” “Mickey and the Roadster Racers,” “The Lion Guard,” “Puppy Dog Pals” and “PJ Masks”; and Disney XD’s “DuckTales,” “Star Wars Rebels,” “Walk the Prank,” “MECH-X4” and “Milo Murphy’s Law.”

A selection of Disney Channel TV movies, curated from over 100 titles, will also be available, along with over 60 games featuring Disney characters, like the “DuckTales” adventure game “Duckburg Quest,” Princess Elena of Avalor in “Flight of the Jaquins” and the Villain Kids in the “Descendants 2 Wicked Style” activity.

Disney says it will release new games to the platform on a monthly basis.

Radio Disney performances and in-studio appearances will be added to this app, as well, including those from Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande and Camila Cabello, and others.

The app is ad-supported via sponsorships, traditional or interactive TV commercials and sweepstakes, as there’s no subscription fee to use it.

However, DisneyNow is not an over-the-top streaming service, like the one Disney has planned for its 2019 release, nor will it include any theatrical movies, like those from big brands such as Pixar, Marvel, or Star Wars. Those are being saved for Disney’s big Netflix competitor. (It does have sections for Marvel and Star Wars though, for their TV cartoon series.)

While some content in DisneyNow available for free, to watch the full lineup, users will need to authenticate using their pay TV credentials from a supported cable, satellite or digital programming distributor.

The good news for cord cutters is that DisneyNow does work with your YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now, or Hulu credentials.

Of course, you could just watch Disney via those streaming apps’, but it’s better to install the DisneyNow app for the kids, so they don’t have to stumble through adult programming to find their favorite shows.

DisneyNow is a free download on iOSApple TVAndroidFire tablets, and Roku. A version for Fire TV, Android TV and the web will arrive next year.


Written by : Sarah Perez

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Future TV Advertising: Brands speak out; Building ideal Ad-Tech eco-system

The Future TV Advertising Forum returns to London December 6th & 7th to debate how we get the whole TV industry on board to deliver the scale of advanced TV advertising inventory that buyers want, and how to give access to it with minimum complexity and cost. This year will feature over 10 brands speaking about what they want from television/video and the digital eco-system, a new (larger) venue, breakout sessions on marketing to machines and Building the ideal ad-tech eco-system, Start-Up of the year awards and our private, executive forum Advertising Pathfinders.

The programme will be fully published in one week but you can see our stellar speaker line up:

Ad-Tech Start Ups: Entry deadline in 2 weeks. No charge to enter and the shortlisted get to pitch their businesses to our audience and panel of judges. View here:

Future TV Advertising Forum: London, December 6th & 7th.

Written by : Justin Lebbon

Announcement in VOD and Media Professionals – Linked In Group –

Twitter sold enough ads to support all the live video shows it was pitching

Twitter is moving forward with 16 live video shows and features it said it wanted to stream.

Advertisers are getting behind Twitter’s push into live video shows.

At its pitch to advertisers in May, Twitter showed off 16 different live video shows and features it planned to stream in 2017, including shows from pro sports leagues like Major League Baseball, news outlets like BuzzFeed and entertainment publishers like LiveNation. (Vox Media, which owns this site, also cut a deal with Twitter to create a show with The Verge.)

The majority of those shows, though, required an advertiser commitment to help foot the bill. Without the ad commitment, the shows wouldn’t have been produced.

Turns out advertisers were interested. Twitter secured ad commitments for all 16 shows, which means they’ve all been given the green light, according to a source familiar with the company.

It’s unknown how much video advertising Twitter and its partners sold for each show, but it was enough that they’ve chosen to stream them. (Ad packages for BuzzFeed’s new show ranged from $250,000 to $500,000, according to Ad Age.)

If Twitter was a TV network, this wouldn’t be a big deal — TV networks produce everything they pitch to advertisers, called the upfronts, as it refers to the upfront commitment advertisers make to the new slate of shows. The digital version is called the newfronts.

But digital companies often pitch stuff at the newfronts that never gets any backing, and thus never gets created. The fact that Twitter found buyers for all of its shows is not only uncommon, but a sign that the company’s focus on live video shows has attracted advertiser attention.

Now, Twitter just needs to prove users want to watch these kinds of shows.


Written by : Kurt Wagner

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You’ve heard about precision medicine. Now get ready for precision drug ads

The drug industry spends billions each year to promote its medicines to the masses, blanketing popular TV shows and magazines with ads. Now, digital companies are increasingly trying to pry away a share of that money for ads that target specific patients, rather than broad demographics.

Targeted ads are nothing new in retail; anyone who uses the internet has had the eerie feeling that the ads popping up on page after page appear to be aimed directly at them. But drug makers have long steered clear of many such tools, for fear of violating patient privacy law.

That’s changing now. Facebook and the music streaming service Pandora are aggressively vying for pharma dollars by promising to help drug makers identify and reach the users most likely to have certain diseases or conditions — without violating the privacy law known as HIPAA.

Other companies looking to get in on the action are rushing to strike deals giving them access to vast troves of anonymized medical records. The databases strip out names — but can tell them, for instance, how many times women in a certain age bracket fill prescriptions for Drug X, or go to the doctor with complaints about Condition Y, or use their supermarket loyalty card to buy over-the-counter meds touted as a quick fix for Complaint Z.

Combine that with the personal information that consumers enter when they set up accounts with social media sites, and you have a powerful tool for predicting which individuals may be most likely to be interested in certain medications.

And marketers say they can use those analytics to send ads only to the most receptive patients as they browse online, scroll through Twitter, stream music — or even as they watch TV, thanks to a service that will deliver an ad to the airwaves only in a specifically targeted “micro-neighborhood” as small as a few residential blocks.

“It’s a matter of economics: Good targeting saves money. Good targeting improves the effectiveness of the spend. And … the ads don’t go to folks that don’t need them,” said John Kamp, executive director of the Coalition for Healthcare Communication, a trade group for pharmaceutical marketing companies and medical publishers.

STAT requested interviews with more than a dozen of the largest drug makers about the ad targeting tools they’re using. None agreed to talk about how they’re promoting specific products. Merck, Pfizer, and Eli Lilly did, however, share some information about how they reach out to patients to fill clinical trials or promote financial assistance programs — revealing some of the work they’re doing to target patients more precisely.

Pfizer, for instance, this summer took the first steps toward using geographic targeting for digital ads promoting RxPathways, its service that connects low-income patients with free prescriptions and help with copays.

Gary Pelletier, who runs the program for Pfizer, said his team compiled a list of the 16 states with the highest rates of uninsured patients and identified the ZIP codes in those states where the most patients have used Pfizer’s finance assistance program in the past.

Pelletier’s team then targeted everyone on certain social media sites in those ZIP codes with a video ad, featuring a couple navigating a labyrinth rising up out of the street. The off-screen narrator urged patients to “get the help you need to get the prescriptions you need.” They also blasted a Spanish language version of the ad to people in those ZIP codes with a Spanish language setting on their social media account.

In another first, Pelletier’s team in the past few weeks promoted tweets and Facebook posts publicizing Pfizer’s financial assistance hotline and website to people in parts of Texas and Florida ravaged by the recent hurricanes.

Following mom through her day

Spending on drug ads on TV, in print, and other traditional channels last year reached an estimated $5.7 billion. And that’s not even counting the growing category of digital ads, which one research firm estimated at $1.9 billion last year.


Pandora is going hard after those pharma dollars.

Pandora now has more than 16 million individual monthly listeners over age 55 — and its fastest growing segments of new users are people in that bracket. Not surprisingly, over the past two years, the company has seen a rapid rise in interest from drug advertisers, according to Lee Ann Longinotti, who runs Pandora’s business with health care advertisers.

Pandora now counts 20 drug makers among its recent advertisers, including Pfizer, Merck, and Johnson & Johnson. They’ve promoted 40 different prescription and over-the-counter drugs, for conditions ranging from diabetes to erectile dysfunction to a circadian rhythm disorder common in the blind.

To target users more precisely, Pandora struck a partnership a year ago with Crossix, a company which mines anonymized patient data from electronic health records, insurance claims, and pharmacy transactions.

That’s allowed Pandora to create profiles of the types of people who are most likely to be interested in drugs for a certain condition. Then it helps the pharma company follow those users around as they listen to music on different devices throughout the day.

Written by : Rebecca Robbins

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Report: Traditional TV Measurement Missing Two-Thirds of Video Consumption

NEW YORK—It’s becoming harder to effectively measure the viewing habits of Millennials and Gen Xers (MGX)—those between 22 and 45— as around two-thirds of their TV and video content consumption is not being captured by current media measurement platforms, says a new report from Omnicom Media Group agency Hearts & Science.

MGXers spend an estimated 30 hours per week consuming TV and video content, but traditional TV platforms account for only 10 of those hours, per the report. The remaining content is viewed on other devices or streaming content on all devices. Measurement firms like Nielsen, comScore and Kantar can effectively measure those traditional TV screens, but are still working out how to measure content and ad exposure in-app on mobile and tablet devices, on OTT devices and through streaming services.

Nielsen has attempted to address this with its Digital Content Ratings Software Developer Kit, but it has had slow adoption as it requires integrating code to measure in-app content and ad-consumption on all platforms, devices and client app at the publisher’s expense. Nielsen’s digital TV ratings, which includes streaming TV content on these new platforms, struggles because the digital content and ad load must be identical to that of the original broadcast; ad content is usually changed as content crosses environments.

Meanwhile, 47 percent of MGXers report that they consume no content on traditional TV platforms. The study’s authors labeled such respondents as “unreachables,” as today’s TV measurement is not equipped to capture the whole story of this segment’s media consumption.

As a result of its findings, Hearts & Science calls for planning systems to be adjusted to account for the gaps in measurement data and to leverage new mobile datasets. They also suggested that agencies and marketers push for the adoption of SDKs that allow for these targets to be counted.


The full study is available for review here.

Written by : Michael Balderston

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If your TV looks blurry tonight, there’s no need to worry: Channel 4 to broadcast fuzzy images to give viewers a clear understanding of common eye conditions

  • Visual filters will be applied to adverts from 5 household brands tonight at 9pm
  • The blurring will occur during the first commercial break of The Undateables 
  • Each will be distorted to show what sufferers of 5 common eye conditions see
  • They include macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataract, hemianopia and diabetic eye conditions 

Channel 4 viewers tonight will be shown blurry adverts to give them an insight into what life is like for those plagued by vision loss.

During the first break of The Undateables, visual filters will be applied to adverts from five household brands to represent the most common eye conditions.

Each commercial will be distorted to represent what sufferers see, including those of macular degeneration – which affects the central part of a person’s vision.

Glaucoma, which damages the optic nerves, and cataracts, which often makes sight become cloudy, will also be illustrated through the filters.

The other two conditions set to be replicated include hemianopia, also known as half vision loss, and diabetes eyesight problems.

During the first break of The Undateables, visual filters will be applied to adverts from five household brands to represent the most common eye conditions

Cataract, as seen in the Paco Rabanne commercial, is another huge cause of vision loss, is a clouding of the eye's naturally clear lens. It is mostly age-related

Cataract, as seen in the Paco Rabanne commercial, is another huge cause of vision loss, is a clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens. It is mostly age-related

It is unsure how many people suffer from hemianopia, the loss of some vision on the same side in both eyes - represented in the Freeview advert

It is unsure how many people suffer from hemianopia, the loss of some vision on the same side in both eyes – represented in the Freeview advert

Stroke patients and those who have had traumatic brain injuries are deemed to be most at risk of hemianopia, which can rob sufferers' of their independence

Stroke patients and those who have had traumatic brain injuries are deemed to be most at risk of hemianopia, which can rob sufferers’ of their independence


Channel 4’s drive, alongside the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), aims to illustrate what life is like for the two million Britons with eye conditions.

Those firms who have signed up to the campaign, part of National Eye Health week, include Amazon Echo, Paco Rabanne, 02, Freeview and Specsavers.

What the charity hopes to gain from the adverts 

Sophie Castell, director at RNIB, said: ‘This unique opportunity to work with Channel 4 and some really great advertisers will help show viewers different sight loss conditions and what living with sight loss can be like.

‘The use of audio description across an entire ad break marks a cultural shift in advertising.

Illustrated in the 02 advert, macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in people over 60 across the world, with more than five million sufferers, according to figures

Illustrated in the 02 advert, macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in people over 60 across the world, with more than five million sufferers, according to figures

Eye conditions related to diabetes, known as diabetic retinopathy, are present in the Amazon Echo advert. They eventually lead to blurred vision

Eye conditions related to diabetes, known as diabetic retinopathy, are present in the Amazon Echo advert. They eventually lead to blurred vision

Glaucoma, which strikes around 60 million people, is the second leading cause of blindness, the World Health Organization says. It is depicted in the Specsavers advert

Glaucoma, which strikes around 60 million people, is the second leading cause of blindness, the World Health Organization says. It is depicted in the Specsavers advert


In January, experts warned that we face a global epidemic of blindness if we continue to spend hours you spend staring at a screen.

The high energy light emitted from digital screens is causing irreversible damage to our eyes by deteriorating the retinas.

Damage to the retinas – the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye – is the biggest cause of central blindness.

And a report warned ‘it is now clearer than ever that we are facing a global epidemic’ of sight loss – particularly for the millions of children who are exposed to digital screens earlier than ever.

Lead researcher Dr Celia Sanchez-Ramos, of the University Complutense of Madrid in Spain, said: ‘It is paramount for adults and parents to act now and protect themselves from further damage.’

‘We are really proud to be part of this exciting and rewarding initiative with Channel 4 and the advertisers.’

The campaign will be repeated in the following break at 9.30pm with the addition of audio description for viewers with a visual impairment.

What Channel 4 hope to do 

Jonathan Allan, Channel 4 sales director said: ‘Working with RNIB, we aim to illustrate the various perspectives of millions of people in the UK living with sight loss and provide full audio description to all our viewers.’

In August, a Stanford University study revealed that older adults who need glasses have a higher risk of dementia.

A significant link between vision loss and cognitive decline was uncovered by the researchers after reviewing two trials.

While Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary scientists claimed a blood test could save the sight of older people by detecting age-related macular degeneration before symptoms even start.

Macular degeneration 

Illustrated in the 02 advert, it is the leading cause of blindness in people over 60 across the world, with more than five million sufferers, according to figures.


Glaucoma, which strikes around 60 million people, is the second leading cause of blindness, the World Health Organization says. It is depicted in the Specsavers advert.


Cataract, as seen in the Paco Rabanne commercial, is another huge cause of vision loss, is a clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens. It is mostly age-related.


It is unsure how many people suffer from hemianopia, the loss of some vision on the same side in both eyes – represented in the Freeview advert.

Stroke patients and those who have had traumatic brain injuries are deemed to be most at risk of the condition, which can rob sufferers’ of their independence.

Diabetic eye conditions 

Eye conditions related to diabetes, known as diabetic retinopathy, are present in the Amazon Echo advert. It blurs vision.

Figures suggest that a third of diabetics, of which there are an estimated 415 million across the world, suffer from the condition to some degree.


Written by : Stephen Matthews for Mail Online

Taken from :


Students’ TV Licence trap: plug your laptop in to watch TV and risk £1,000 fine

Students could be unwittingly putting themselves at risk of a £1,000 fine if they misunderstand the rules around a TV licence.

Plugging in a laptop while using it to watch live TV could be the difference between complying with the law and breaking it. The TV Licensing Authority allows students to watch live TV on “devices powered by their own battery” and claim cover under their parents’ licence. Tens of thousands of students take advantage of this in order to watch TV without a licence while living away from home during term time.

But the little-known quirk about being attached to a mains plug or aerial means many may fall foul of a technicality.

The rule exists to allow those who want to watch live TV on-the-go on a laptop or tablet to do so without risk of prosecution, as long as they have paid for a licence covering their home address.

The TV Licensing website offers guidance to students that says they will be covered so long as the device is not connected to an aerial or plugged into the mains. This leads to a bizarre scenario in which a student watching TV on their laptop is covered by their parents’ licence, but as soon as they plug it into the mains they are no longer covered.

A spokesman said: “The provision in the legislation (about equipment being powered by its own batteries) is the same provision which enables someone to be covered to watch television on any equipment used away from their address as long as they have a licence at home.

“This means you’re covered to watch TV on your phone or laptop for example, when you’re on the go. If you plug the equipment in, the provision no longer applies. This [is] due to the way in which TV Licensing legislation is drafted.”

You will need a TV licence if you intend to watch live programmes or BBC iPlayer while at university. If you have a shared tenancy agreement one licence should cover the entire property, but if your tenancy agreement covers only your room you will need a licence of your own.

It costs £147 a year, but you can apply for a refund if you don’t need it to cover the entire year. The maximum fine for watching live TV without a TV licence is £1,000.

Written by : Sam Meadows

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‘Handmaid’s Tale’ wins top Emmy in breakout for online TV

‘Handmaid’s Tale’ , Hulu’s series based on Margaret Atwood’s novel about a dystopian near-future, wins five Emmy prizes, including best actress for Elisabeth Moss

Los Angeles: The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu’s series based on Margaret Atwood’s novel about a dystopian near-future, won the Emmy award for best drama on Sunday, the first time an online network has won the top honor in television.

The win is a coup for the streaming service, which is owned by four of the world’s largest media companies. Streaming services have upended TV, spending billions on original series and freeing viewers from having to watch dramas or comedies live. They’ve led millions of people to cancel their cable.

Hulu, initially conceived for people to watch reruns online, has trailed Netflix Inc. and Inc. in the race to sign up viewers and craft original shows. Yet Hulu, owned by Walt Disney Co., 21st Century Fox Inc., Time Warner Inc. and Comcast Corp., now owns the ultimate bragging rights over its rivals with a show that has captivated critics since its release in April.

“They were bold and behind us,” Bruce Miller, creator of The Handmaid’s Tale, said of Hulu. “If streaming services continue to do that, I don’t see any limit to how many they can win.”

The show won five prizes in all Sunday night, including best actress for Elisabeth Moss’s portrayal of Offred. Moss had been nominated eight times previously, including for her performance as Peggy Olson on Mad Men.

Time of fear

Published in 1985, The Handmaid’s Tale won and was nominated for several prizes at the time, and was adapted into a movie in 1990. Atwood wrote the book while living in Berlin at a time of fear and suspicion. The Cold War was still on, and residents on both sides of the Berlin Wall had to worry about being monitored by security forces.

The book depicts a world in which fertility rates have fallen and women are subjugated. The few fertile women are captured and forced to help wealthy families procreate. Many viewers and critics drew parallels to modern fears about the current state of politics, and the ascension of right-wing politicians across the West.

It’s still unclear how many people have seen the show because Hulu doesn’t release audience metrics. But the win Sunday night paves the way for the service to sign up more viewers, and lure top talent at a time when new competitors in video, including Apple Inc. and Facebook Inc., are also bidding for their services.

“There have never been more platforms,” Emmy host Stephen Colbert said in his opening monologue on CBS from the stage of the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. “You have broadcast, cable, Amazon, YouTube, Hulu, Vudu, Netflix, Vitamix. These days everybody loves streaming video.”

Netflix earned four prime-time Emmys for three different shows, Black Mirror, The Crown and Master of None. Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe won for their writing on the latter. Waithe became the first black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing and was joined by Donald Glover, who became the first black man to win a comedy directing Emmy for Atlanta on FX, one of two awards he garnered Sunday night.

HBO’s haul

While HBO ceded the drama category to Hulu, Time Warner’s premium cable network took home the most awards of any network, with 10 on the night, by claiming the top prize in two categories, comedy and miniseries.

Voters in the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences crowned HBO’s Veep the best comedy for the third year in a row. Star Julia Louis-Dreyfus won her eighth Emmy with the prize for best actress in the comedy, tying with Cloris Leachman for the most wins of any actress.

Big Little Lies nearly swept the awards in the limited series category, winning three of the four acting prizes and the directing prize. The show is an adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s novel, which depicts five feuding mothers in a rich California town.

“I’ve been acting since I was 11 years old and I think I’ve worked with maybe 12 women, so I just want to thank the television academy for honoring our show and working with this incredible tribe of fierce women,’’ Laura Dern said after winning best supporting actress in the series.

Political humour

Politics were ever-present at the Emmys from the outset, with Colbert going after President Donald Trump following the opening number and NBC’sSaturday Night Live garnering four Emmys, largely because of its election-year sendups of Trump and Hillary Clinton. NBC was second in total awards for the night and the only broadcast network to take home an Emmy.

Colbert has gained viewers and media attention with his nightly mockery of the president, with the audience for his late-night show soaring more than 20 percent this year, often topping all late-night hosts.

Colbert brought out former press secretary Sean Spicer toward the conclusion of his opening monologue, which poked at Trump’s dismay over not winning an Emmy for his shows The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice. Alec Baldwin won the Emmy for supporting actor in a comedy for his portrayal of the president on Saturday Night Live and said, “At long last Mr. President, here is your Emmy.”

SNL earned the award for best comedy sketch series, the first time the show has won that prize since 1993. Kate McKinnon, who has portrayed Hillary Clinton, won for best supporting actress in a comedy. Saturday Night Live is the most-nominated show in Emmy history.

“I remember the first time we won this award. It was after our first season in 1976. I remember thinking as I was standing there alone that this was it,’’ creator Lorne Michaels said. “This was the high point. There would never be another season as crazy, as unpredictable as frightening, as exhausting or as exhilarating. Turns out I was wrong. Bloomberg

Written by : Lucas Shaw

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Voice search: the key to simplifying user experience?

IBC2017: Consumers have been given access to an ever-increasing range of content and platforms but don’t always have the tools to navigate and discover programmes.

The answer to making things simple again is voice, according to TiVo, one of the original disruptors of digital TV.

Speaking at IBC during a session on the consumer experience, TiVo Senior Director of Marketing Charles Dawes claimed that the company’s natural language voice controls – which are currently being integrated into Sky Q’s premium service – would radically simplify the user experience.

“It can take more than 10 clicks to find the search.

“Voice search is a quick and simple way to get to content more easily,” he said.

TiVo’s new solution claims to enable natural language voice searches for finding digital content across linear TV and VoD.

Viewers can find their desired programme by pressing and holding the voice button on the side of a touch remote and simply saying what they’re looking for.

“Voice search is a quick and simple way to get to content more easily” – Charles Dawes

Dawes said that the technology is based around the conversational way that people really speak and takes into account pauses in requests such as “Find me an action comedy….one with Tom Hanks.”

Viewers can also use their voices to search for films from a specific director or actor and even through using a selection of well-known movie quotes such as “Show me the money!”

The future user experience

TV is falling behind other content mediums in design terms, writes Mark Mayne.

Fabian Birgfeld, CEO & Co-Founder, W12 Studios, said: “TV must do better – there is some catch-up to be done when you compare it with other platforms. People talk about the paradox of choice, because there’s so much content, but we can’t seem to design an interaction method that solves the problem.

“I always use the metaphor of the supermarket – nobody complains about supermarket choice, because the design is understood, and allows people to choose freely.”

He reminded the packed auditorium attending “Future User Experience’ that the stakes are rising: “In the future, 20% of user interactions will take place via intelligent personal assistants – this will change the behaviours and expectations of the consumer. The tolerance for bad customer experience is dropping incredibly fast, and it’s thought that customer experience will overtake price and product as key brand differentiator by 2020.”

Senior Creative at Crackle and former UX Lead at the BBC Ida Olsen shared a series of tips for designers too, saying: “TV is about emotion, it brings people together, and not much has changed about the values people ascribe to the TV screen since 60s – in many ways there is nothing new.”

Olsen’s tips for design strategy included holistic design. “Scattered teams and tools that break down workflows don’t help this…I don’t have a solution for all that, but I do believe that everyone from QA to product person to designer – should have face to face time with developers and the customer – it’s important to know who you’re designing for!”

She also stressed the need for consistency in tone of voice and language. She said: “Humans are very good at pattern recognition so tap into that and work with it not against it.

“Think about steps before and after an object you’re designing, for example a content page – don’t accept thinking about it in isolation, it’s essential to have the context of how whole thing hangs together.”

Fellow panelist Freeview Australia Chief Executive Liz Ross also shared her insight into research which was gathered ahead of launching Freeview + in her home territory.

“People don’t like it when you only provide a grid text based guide for browsing or relying on the use of coloured buttons.

“You need to be able to make content search and discovery easy and integrate it into all browsing screens.”

Discovery Communications Senior VP of Data and Analytics Chris McGrath also advised broadcasters to think carefully about how they programme their recommendation engines.

“Think about the bias that you are putting in the algorithm. If you like shows such as Breaking Bad, then you usually get reccomendations for lots more shows with anti-heroes in them – there’s not a whole lot of variety and it can result in audience fatigue which may flatten out the success a show,” he warned.

Written by : Anne-Marie Corvin and Mark Mayne

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Putting the multiscreen OTT puzzle pieces together

By the end of 2017 OTT revenue is forecast to surpass $50 billion, driven by the proliferation of broadband and connected devices writes Robert Guest, Global Director at Access.

Unsurprisingly, everyone wants a slice of the OTT pie. For instance, Disney recently announced the upcoming launch of its own direct-to-consumer streaming service in 2019, while Apple has set a $1 billion budget for original programming as it prepares to move into the film and TV space.

With more streaming services launching, consumers will have more subscriptions and apps to navigate than ever before. However, according to Altman Vilandrie & Company findings, 9 out of 10 US-based pay-tv subscribers are getting confused with the myriad of ways they can access content, and do not want a further increase in the number of video apps.

This discrepancy between the industry’s needs for control and consumer demand for simplicity of the user interface needs to be addressed. Otherwise, the operator-subscriber relationship could break, with device manufacturers in a good position to build strong relationships with consumers.

Research from Deloitte found that over half of the consumers surveyed reach for their connected device within a quarter of an hour after waking up and in the half hour before going to sleep, demonstrating how personal devices have fast become an extension of the consumer.

Yet, the battle for the consumer’s trust is not lost for traditional operators, as long as they follow three golden rules:

• Serve a plethora of devices: today’s consumers use a range of devices to watch content and it is crucial that operators can provide the same user experience on all screens – a feat easily solved by implementing HTML5 in a browser-based environment, enabling a unified user experience across all platforms.

• Syndicating all content sources: distribution rights mean that consumers cannot rely on one single service to meet all of their entertainment needs. Instead, operators need to offer a simplified service that aggregates all of these content sources in a single branded environment.

• Securing content delivery: with more devices comes a much bigger challenge to protect multiple content sources, delivered across a variety of networks. Operators need solutions that enable them to secure media across this plethora of options, with multi-DRM offering a unique solution to securely deliver content.

Forward-thinking operator Reliance Jio Infocomm, one of the world’s largest provider of mobile and digital services, has already deployed a multiscreen service providing its 100 million subscribers with access to multiple content sources – from Jio’s catalogue through to personal content and YouTube – across a wide range of devices.

Operators who want to compete or collaborate with pure OTT players can adopt this new type of service. By taking a holistic approach to multiscreen, operators can recapture the eyeballs of consumers by becoming their only point of content consumption.

This will ensure that the next generation of multiscreen and OTT services not only allows consumers to access content everywhere at all times, but also in an environment controlled and managed by the operator.

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Apple unveils iPhone 8 and £1,000 iPhone X with all-screen display and wireless charging

  • Apple has unveiled its latest product range, including the iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and Apple Watch 3
  • Apple launches £999 iPhone X with edge-to-edge screen, Face ID and wireless charging 
  • Why £1,000 isn’t too much to pay for an iPhone X 
  • New iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus announced – best features, price and release date
  • New Apple Watch 3 works independently from the iPhone – here are the best features and everything you need to know 
  • Animojis, facial recognition software and no home button: How the new iPhone X features work  
  • ‘RIP home button!’ How the internet reacted to the iPhone X launch 
  • Wireless charging: How the new Apple technology works 
  • Apple suffers embarrassing demo Face ID fail at iPhone X launch 
  • iPhone X: Hands on with ‘the future of the smartphone’ 

Apple has unveiled the £1,000 iPhone X, the latest generation of its flagship device. The all-glass device has an edge-to-edge display and no home button. It unlocks using facial recognition software and features wireless charging.

Tim Cook also launched the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, two new phones that have 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens. Like the iPhone X, the devices also have an all-glass design and can be charged wirelessly.

In addition to the phones, Apple announced a third generation of its Watch and a 4K Apple TV.

iPhone X 

The iPhone X celebrates the 10th anniversary of Apple’s smartphone, featuring a radical redesign and new technology.


iPhone X
iPhone X CREDIT: AP 

The phone has a 5.8-inch OLED screen, which fills the entire front of the device. Apple has removed the iconic home button to make way for the display, replacing it with facial recognition software called Face ID.

Face ID is used to unlock the phone, authenticate Apple Pay and cutomise the new animoji.

The phone starts at £999 in the UK for the 64GB version, going up to £1,149 for the 256GB model. Coming in space grey and silver, it will be available to pre-order from October 27 and will ship on November 3.


iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus

Apple also announced the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, an upgrade to its current offering. The new devices have an all-glass design and can charge wirelessly.


iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus have a glass back and come in space grey, silver and blush gold
iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus have a glass back and come in space grey, silver and blush gold CREDIT:REUTERS

The 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch devices start at £699 and £799 for the 64GB versions. They come with iOS 11 software, which will be available to download from September 19, and an upgraded camera and processor.

Apple Watch 3

The third generation of Apple’s smartwatch is the first that works independently from the iPhone. A cellular version of the device is available form £399 and can make phone calls and browse the web.

Apple also unveiled a 4K version of its set-top Apple TV box at the event.


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Quarter of Younger Viewers Watch TV Exclusively Online

Another 30 percent say they will do the same within two years

The viewing habits of those under the age of 35 have been a key area of interest for broadcasters as online and streaming platforms become more prevalent, and a recent study by Adobe Digital Insight reveals that the move away from traditional TV looks to continue to grow.

The survey of more than 1,500 U.S. consumers showed that two-thirds of consumers under the age of 35 regularly watch television through online streaming subscriptions. However, the more important number is that more than a quarter of the respondents under 35 said they are watching TV exclusively online, with another 30 percent expected to begin doing so in the next two years.

Traditional TV still has a solid base of support among those over the age of 35, with more than 40 percent saying they don’t plan to use online streaming services as their only method of watching TV. Still, online cable, direct TV or satellite is proving to be the primary method for half of the respondents over 35.

Another result of the move toward online streaming services is the rise in binge watching, again, especially among younger viewers. ADI reports that more than 50 percent of consumers between 13 and 22 say they prefer to binge watch TV series. A third of those over 35 said they prefer the traditional one episode a week.

Despite the move to more online sources, TVs are still the preferred box to view the content. More than 75 percent of all respondents prefer a 35-inch or larger TV screen to watch content. How they watch content through the TV is what is changing, as gaming devices and smart TVs join cable boxes as the most popular devices used to access entertainment at home among 13-34 year olds. Cable box, smart TVs and Blu-ray players are the most popular for 35 and older.

ADI’s study also looked into the way that viewers consume news, sports and where they prefer to watch movies. To see the details on these subjects, click here.


Written by : Michael Balderston

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Verizon CEO Sees Decision on Online TV Service in 6 Months

Verizon Communications Inc. will decide in the next six months how to deliver an online TV service, Chief Executive Officer Lowell McAdam said.

Although web-based TV is becoming “a crowded field,” the telecommunications giant needs to participate to take advantage of the advertising capabilities of its AOL and Yahoo! acquisitions, McAdam said Wednesday at Bloomberg’s Sooner Than You Think conference.

“An over-the-top platform is absolutely critical for us,” McAdam said. Verizon may offer the service in partnership with someone, he said. Even so, “there’s no big M&A planned for us.”

Verizon offers traditional pay-TV service over its fiber-optic lines in parts of the U.S., with 4.7 million subscribers, but growth has stagnated as competition heats up with streaming-video providers such as Netflix Inc.

In March, people with knowledge of the matter said Verizon was planning to unveil an over-the-internet TV service this summer to compete with Dish Network Corp.’s Sling TV and AT&T Inc.’s DirecTV Now. As of last month, Verizon was struggling to sign up TV networks to get the service started, people said.

AT&T gives mobile-phone subscribers a discount on DirecTV Now, an online collection of cable channels such as ESPN and HGTV. Google and Hulu LLC are among other companies selling web-based television.

Unhappy Investors

Verizon rose 1 percent to close at $47.25 in New York. The shares have fallen 11 percent this year, while the S&P 500 Index has gained 12 percent.

For more on Verizon’s possible M&A, read this Gadfly piece

Long term, Verizon has its work cut out for it. Almost all Americans already have a wireless subscription or two, leaving little room for growth and putting pressure on the company to come up with a growth strategy for the future. Analysts project sales will fall this year.

The company is focusing on a media venture, Oath, that includes the assets acquired in the purchase of AOL Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. Verizon wants to challenge Google and Facebook Verizon CEO: Online TV Decision in Next 6 Monthsin mobile advertising by building a big audience with streaming-video offerings like go90.

Written by : Scott Moritz and Olga Kharif

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UK government: 15% of web users watch content illegally

Approximately 6.7 million UK internet users, some 15%, consumed at least one item of online content illegally during the three months prior to March 2017, according to government stats.

The UK Intellectual Property Office’s ‘IP Crime and Enforcement Report 2016/17’claimed that “criminality threatens to implicate millions of ordinary consumers” as the use of set-top boxes to stream unlicensed TV shows rises.

The report cites Industry Trust for IP figures that suggest that 19% of adults now watch copyright free material through IPTV set-top boxes, such as Kodi devices.

It also said policing ‘technological misuses’ and ‘social media distribution’ requires investment, cooperation and raised awareness of the consequences of IP crime amongst consumers and business people.

“Illicit streaming devices, which were highlighted as an emerging threat in last year’s IP Crime Report, have become mainstream products in some parts of the UK, and the subsequent threat to those working to create, produce, distribute and sell films and TV programmes is enormous,” according to the Alliance for Intellectual Property section of the report.

Chief Constable Sussex Police, Giles York, commented that the emerging threat of illicit streaming devices is “undermining the creative industries involved in bringing films and TV shows to market.”

FACT, a UK intellectual property organisation that works on behalf of the sports, TV and film industry, said that 70% of its active ongoing cases relate to ‘illicit streaming devices’, and that 47% of its public complaints in 2016/17 related to these devices – up from 18% in 2015/16.

Government figures claim that the UK economy loses £9 billion per year through IP crime, while the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that the value of Europe’s illegal market is £76 billion.

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Disney confirms Stars Wars & Marvel for SVOD app

The Walt Disney Company’s upcoming international SVOD service will offer Star Warsand Marvel Universe content, Bob Iger has revealed.

One of the key questions over the upcoming app, which is due for launch in 2019, was whether it would offer series andfeature films from its premium Lucasfilm and Marvel Entertainment subsidiaries.

Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2017 Media Communications conference, Disney chairman and CEO Iger told delegates these would comprise part of the offer.

“We left open what we are going to do with Marvel and Star Wars,” he said. “We’ve now decided that we will put the Marvel and Star Wars movies on this app as well.”

This means the Disney SVOD app will offer Star Wars and Marvel Universe movies and series, plus those from its own studio and Toy Story producerPixar Animation.

“In addition to that, we have been spending a fair amount of time developing original content on the movies side for the app,” said Iger. “The studio is already developing and will produce four to five original films exclusively for the app, primarily live action.”

There will also up to five Disney-branded original TV series, and between three and four branded telemovies offered exclusively, to go with around 500 library movies and about 7,000 episodes of in-house shows and thousands of shorts.

“We’ll produce more original short-form content for this app, but we use a lot of the short-form content that we’ve already created,” said Iger.

Disney shocked the entertainment world this summer by announcing it was ending its long-term output agreement withSVOD service Netflix in order to launch a rival subscription streaming app. It already has a smaller offer, Disney Life, available in the UK.

He added that further details on pricing and investment levels would follow “in the months ahead”, adding: “We’re going to launch big, and we’re going to launch hot. We’re very confident that as you look at the TV space or the media space, there is not only room and demand for Disney, but we’ll have a content to back that up.”

There is a potential the service will launch in certain international territories before the US if movie windows fall ahead of schedules.

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IBC Show Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Media technology exhibition and conference maintains its focus on the cutting edge

Broadcast and media professionals from around the world will descend on the RAI Convention Center, Sept. 15–19 for the annual IBC Show, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

Nearly 56,000 attendees took in the technology exhibition and dozens of conferences in 2016, but along with the show, IBC has also expanded its services with the launch of IBC365, an online editorial platform and weekly e-bulletin that covers the latest developments in television technology, earlier this year.

TV Technology recently spoke with Michael Crimp, president of IBC to discuss how changes in the industry are impacting the annual gathering.

TV Technology: What do you think are the biggest changes that have occurred in the industry since IBC 2016?
Michael Crimp: Broadcasters have traditionally been the trusted brand for news: Is the era of social media and universal internet access changing that? It is a critical topic to debate at IBC, because the industry’s response to it is central to its future, both commercially and technically.

More broadly, the industry continues to widen beyond traditional media, entertainment and technology into adjacent markets; IP interoperability is far more widely accepted than it was this time last year; and nascent technologies like VR and AR are increasingly being seen as far more than mere gaming gadgets. IBC will be exploring all these areas and more.

Michael Crimp

TVT: Are there any new areas in the media industry that IBC is focusing on for the 2017 show? And if so, why?
Crimp: There are many new markets melding with the traditional broadcast sector, including cloud, AR/VR, mobile, IoT, social networks, artificial intelligence and telecoms, and there is much we can all learn about different ways to produce, manage, monetize and aggregate content. We are pleased to welcome a number of high-profile speakers from these sectors, as well as from broadcast networks, to discuss the changing media landscape.

TVT: How successful have your efforts been at increasing IBC’s presence beyond the annual show?
Crimp: Last year we carried out extensive independent research to pinpoint areas where IBC could offer greater value to IBC exhibitors and visitors. A key feature of the research results was a desire for more IBC-generated industry intelligence outside of show time. This led to the launch of IBC365, an online portal with a treasure trove of content including hundreds of IBC videos, technology papers, and analysis of industry trends, as well as commissioned content specifically aimed at adjacent markets in order to engage them more fully with IBC.

TVT: Who are some of your keynoters this year and what will they be focusing on?
Crimp: The opening keynote will explore how the rise of fan and friend power in the media ecosystem is driving new approaches to broadcasting, as well as paving the way for new partnerships and funding models. Speakers include Dan Danker, product director at Facebook and Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, president & CEO at Modern Times Group.

Brian Sullivan, president & COO, Digital Consumer Group, Fox Networks Group at 21st Century Fox, will take to the stage to deliver insight into the American market and developments of Fox Network’s leading TV Everywhere services. Balan Nair, executive vice president and chief technology officer at Liberty Global will join other key industry leaders for the “CTO Roadmap” keynote. With many CTOs certainly facing the same challenges as most executives in the broadcast and media industry, this panel will explore what they see as the biggest challenges and most importantly, how they intend to address them.

Delivering the Technology Forward Keynote, ‘What’s Happening in VR, AR and Mixed Reality’ is Rikard Steiber, president, Viveport and SVP Virtual Reality, HTC. The session will look at the emerging swathe of consumer devices and services, as well as showcasing successful VR experiences across platforms.

TVT: What new features/pavilions/attractions can we expect this year? Any new features for the mobile app?
Crimp: The C-Tech Forum offers two days of specialist presentations and debates, on the same invitation-only, behind-closed-doors basis as the established Leaders’ Summit. The first day will focus on the critical topic of cyber-security, while the second day will look at the potential for 5G.

The IBC Startup Forum also launches this year. Our industry is based on innovation, on people with bright ideas who can create new techniques and the technologies to support them. Working in association with Media Honeypot, we are aiming to bring together startup and scale-up businesses, investors and media houses, to take the best new ideas from the spark of invention to full fruition.

This year’s IP Showcase will show how far we have come in just a year. IP is no longer ‘the future’—real-time IP for production, playout and contribution is a practical, flexible, efficient reality that is rapidly taking hold in mainstream broadcast operations. The IP Showcase will offer demonstrations, real-world scenarios and education sessions, showing the full potential of IP workflows.

The free mobile app now features a fully interactive map, including 3D views to find exhibitors, save their locations, and plot your route around the RAI. It also has a neat tool to help you request and schedule meetings, with inbuilt social media to enable informal online chat. There is also a searchable conference schedule, and you can even check which of the many catering locations in the RAI have queues, ensuring you always make the best use of your time.

TVT: How has your partnership with other industry associations evolved over the years and affected how you develop the conference section of the show?
Crimp: IBC is organized by the industry for the industry, and at the top of our organisation is the Partnership Board which contains representatives of the six leading professional and trade bodies in the industry: IABM, IEE, IET, RTS, SCTE and SMPTE.

My day job revolves around the invaluable feedback we receive from our partner bodies and from the committees, which draw upon valuable industry knowledge. We take all that input and develop a strategy for the continuing development of IBC as an agile platform for industry education, ready to respond to new trends and technologies as they arise.

TVT: Are there any new changes at the RAI itself? I heard a rumor that “The Beach” is no longer, is this true?
Crimp: A large new hotel is under construction between Hall 12 and the station, scheduled to be open in time for IBC 2019, and the North-South metro line is due to open in July 2018. As for “The Beach,” anyone visiting the RAI earlier this year might have been dismayed to see the popular waterfront bar area looking like a building site…but fear not, The Beach has now reopened with a completely new look, with a restaurant as well as various bar areas and rooms for private events.

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If CBS All Access Is the Future of Television, We’re Screwed

When every channel becomes a standalone service, we all lose.

Star Trek: Discovery finally debuted last night to mixed but hopeful reviews. The first TrekTV show in a dozen years definitely has promise. What’s yet to be seen is whether that promise makes fans open their wallets.

CBS released the first two episodes of Discovery last night. While the first aired on traditional broadcast CBS, the second was tucked behind a paywall at CBS All Access, the network’s streaming site/app/service for all things CBS. That’s where the remaining 13 episodes of the series’ first season will live, which means that, barring any creative Googling, you’ll pay $6 or $10 monthly for the privilege of watching the newest version of Star Trek.

Trek often portrays a rosy picture of humanity’s future. But CBS’s decision to hide Discovery inside its silo app as a prestige lure for people to pony up is a potentially worrying picture of TV’s future, one in which we’re asked to pay for a slew of single-entity streaming services.


Netflix was once monolithic in its domination of streaming. But in the past several years, many major copyright owners have gradually withdrawn content from the service, which has come to the fore with approaching departure of 30 RockVanity Fair called it the “end of the wild west” of streaming.

There’s an even bigger exodus on the horizon though: Disney is set to take nearly all of its content off of Netflix and hide it within its own streaming service. This means no more Marvel movies, no more Star Wars, and no more films for keeping your kids busy, unless you pay $5 a month for the Disney app. ESPN, also owned by Disney (and part owned by Hearst, the parent company of Popular Mechanics), will also launch its own streaming service.


This may leave more choice when it comes to programming—after all, owning the copyright makes it pretty easy to leave it up there indefinitely. But it also leaves cord-cutters in a tricky position. If they want to keep current on TV and movies, they’re going to have to subscribe to lots and lots of services.


For the sake of comparison, a just-above-basic cable television plan from Time Warner/Spectrum costs more than $60 for cable alone, and it only goes up after that. No surprise, then, that the number of cord-cutters is on the rise as people try to shed that fat monthly bill.

What we’re seeing now, though, is that the big cable bundle is starting to be replaced by lots of little ones. Add to the fact that internet providers are slowly introducing data caps on broadband access, with Comcast being the biggest abuser of this, and streaming becomes potentially even more costly since all these services will nom away at your monthly allotted data cap. Add in 4K content and that cap starts to look smaller and smaller.

If you’re paying only for, say, Netflix and Hulu, then the monthly bills don’t seem so bad. But let’s say you want to watch Star Trek. Commercial-free CBS All Access (where you can also watch SO MUCH Big Bang Theory) will cost you $10. Hulu without ads is $12. The most basic, standard definition Netflix plan is $8 for streaming on one device at a time, while going all the way up to four devices + high definition will put you at $12 (there’s a meet-in-the-middle at $10.) Amazon Video comes with Amazon Prime, which costs $99 per year or $10.99 if you go with a month-to-month plan. Disney will be $5 whenever it launches, and ESPN will be around the same price for what sounds like a terrible servicewhere you have to be a cable subscriber already to get any new games.

That’s $55 already, and you haven’t added optional HBO or Showtime streaming through Prime or Hulu or another service (you’re paying $15 and $9 for those, respectively). If you opt for all of these services, your streaming-only bill is hovering at $80. That’s not including the bevy of other Amazon Channels options, from fairly well-known entities like PBS, Starz, and Cinemax down to odd Bollywood channels, B-movie fiestas, and more. A half-dozen services all with their own rules, logins, rates, and headaches.


Now, one could argue that, at the very least, this is better than the old days of the cable bundle, where you might get to choose between a small, medium, and large bundle of channels, but not much more. That’s true. The current streaming environment allows you to pick and choose a bit more. If you only care about watching, say, Star Trek: DiscoveryThe Handmaid’s Tale, and Twin Peaks: The Return, then you could pay for CBS All Access and Hulu with the Showtime add-on, and cancel them when you’re done.

But if you thought the end of the monthly cable bill was the end of paying for content you don’t want, then sorry, because that is not the future we’re getting. If you poked around CBS All Access after watching the first two episodes of Discovery, then you probably noticed it’s a wasteland of bad sitcom and reality show reruns, many of which are available elsewhere (you might already be paying for them with Hulu). In short, you could end up with a lot of things you don’t want in order to watch the few things that you do—all while burning through your broadband data cap. All someday we’ll have to pay more when a favorite show makes an inevitable exodus to a brand-new, nobody-asked-for-this streaming slop pile that’s basically your favorite show plus that episode of Bonanza where they meet a leprechaun.

Welcome to the future of television.


Written by : John Wenz

Taken from :

UK TV industry risks losing £1bn a year to Amazon, YouTube and Facebook

Traditional broadcasters such as the BBC, ITV and Sky could follow other industries in losing out to digital ‘middlemen’, says report.

Traditional broadcasters such as the BBC, ITV and Sky could lose a combined £1bn per year if rival services from Amazon, Facebook and YouTube become dominant players in the TV industry over the next decade.

A new report says that UK broadcasters could suffer the same fate as industries including music, news, insurance and property where powerful digital newcomers – including Apple, Google, YouTube, Moneysupermarket and Rightmove – muscled in as middlemen to take a significant share of revenues.

The report, by OC&C Strategy Consultants, argues that broadcasting could be controlled by one or two “super-aggregators” that would act as viewing gateways for consumers looking for a simple way to access a plethora of content.

The modern TV viewer now has an array of viewing options to choose from, with the BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube among the platforms vying for the attention of British households. More than 20% of under-35s use more than seven services to keep up with their favourite shows, and 40% say they are becoming confused by how many options are available, according to an OC&C survey.

“Viewers are facing a complex web of different routes to access TV content, leading to an unsustainable level of confusion and inconvenience,” says Mostyn Goodwin, partner at OC&C. “This environment is giving rise to the need for a super-aggregator service that provides a universal access point to content.”

The report estimates that the UK broadcast industry – which include the TV businesses of the likes of Sky and BT, ITV, Channel 4 as well as the BBC’s licence fee and commercial income – is worth up to to £15bn in revenues annually, including advertising revenues and pay-TV subscriptions.

OC&C based the £1bn loss figure – equivalent to the TV industry’s annual profit from broadcasting activities – on an analysis of the proportion of revenue that middlemen, or aggregators, have taken from traditional players in other sectors.

These vary from 5% to 10% in the insurance industry, which has players including moneysupermarket, to 20% in the taxi sector following the rise of Uber, to 20%-30% in music and news.

“This is not theoretical, in other industries we have seen how powerful these aggregators can become,” said Goodwin.

The report identifies Amazon, Facebook and YouTube, each of whom have enormous global user bases, as being potential middlemen for TV viewing and the biggest threats to traditional TV broadcasters.

In May, Amazon unveiled plans to expand its TV ambitions by adding 40 TV channels to its UK streaming service, including ITV and live sport such as Grand Slam tennis and the Olympics. Earlier this month Facebook launched a new TV-like rival Watch, and Google-owned YouTube has a TV channel service as well as subscription product Red.

In the music sector, the world’s biggest record companies frequently complain about YouTube – by far the biggest destination for music video viewing – arguing that it has too much power and does not pay its fair share of royalties.

Earlier this year, Steve Cooper, Warner Music’s chief executive, renewed the company’s deal with YouTube but complained it was struck under “very difficult circumstances” and wasn’t done under “free market” conditions.

“It is about the balance of power,” says Goodwin. “At first there may not be much of a charge [to appear on an aggregator platform], commercial negotiations are easy as the digital players want to grow their businesses. Over time, as they grow scale, the nature of the deals can change. What choices the broadcasters make now will define what scale of ‘problem’ they will face.”

Written by : Mark Sweney

Taken from :

TOP NETFLIX ANALYST: How much content is enough?

Netflix was the original streaming giant — and it’s used that incumbency to largely stay ahead of everyone else entering the digital-TV universe.

But as costs of creating content nosedive, at least one analyst is wondering at what point Netflix will curtail its original production.

“The question is how much content do you need to create, and at what point do you have enough?” says Rich Greenfield of BTIG.

Greenfield has been covering the media and technology space for the better part of two decades, beginning at Goldman Sachs. In his seven years at BTIG, Greenfield has loudly warned about the death of traditional media companies while celebrating the rise of so-called disruptors.

“The cable broadcasting ecosystem is being pressured,” Greenfield told Business Insider. “People want to to watch whatever they want, whenever they want, and to binge without 20 minutes of commercials.”

While cable networks are slowly making the transition from a linear, broadcast format, they still lag well behind Netflix in both subscribers and content. Greenfield expects Netflix to hit 54.9 million US subscribers by the end of 2017. By comparison, the four largest cable companies only have 48.61 million, according to Leichtman Research Group.

Competitors have a long way to go if they want to catch up, especially outside of the United States, which has been the main source of Netflix’s new growth in the past year. They do, however, have one thing on their side: Americans still love TV.

“The average American is still watching four to five hours of TV a day,” says Greenfield. “This won’t be winner-take-all, there will be lots of winners.”

Last month, Greenfield raised his price target for Netflix to $225, roughly 33% above where shares were trading Friday afternoon.

“The key asset that Netflix has is size. It’s 100 million subscribers ahead of all of its peers,” said Greenfield. “This size gives it the ability to invest more heavily in content, which leads to more content that consumers want to watch, more watch time, and stickier subscriber. It’s a virtuous circle that’s really fueling Netflix.”

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Written by : Graham Rapier

Taken from :