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Hidden by the news: 4 digital media stories you might have missed

I, Frankenstein

The big headlines can sometimes mask other important digital media news on the same topic. Here are four examples covering: social media forecasting the hits, film directors breaking new digital ground, getting live TV on a tablet and watching movies with friends.

The Headline: Woody Allen to Create His First Television Series for Amazon

While Allen grabbed the headline, his fellow director Spike Lee decided to try something really new. His latest movie, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, will be released a full month ahead of its theatrical premiere online. Viewers will be able to rent the movie for a day through Vimeo On Demand for $9.99, or download-to-own for $14.99.  And in case you’re wondering, Sony’s The Interview didn’t beat theatrical release. Even though it was available through SVOD before most people could watch it elsewhere, it had already been released through 331 theaters on Christmas day.

The Headline: Twitter Lets You See the Future of TV

Nielsen says that by combining TV show promotion data with Twitter activity data about the same show its prediction accuracy for audience size increased from 48% to 65%. However, anyone looking for confirmation that social media activity can predict audience for video already has abundant proof that this is the case. For example, Tobias Bauckhage, CEO of moviepilot.com, has regularly been correct in his predictions of the hits and misses for the following weekend movie releases. And he does this based purely on social media activity. For example, a year ago he correctly forecast that the movie I, Frankenstein would be a box office failure. Since then, he has been remarkably accurate at forecasting the weekend box office for new movies.

The Headline: Sling TV to Launch Live, Over-the-top Service for $20 Per Month

TabletTVSure, you can pay Dish $20 a month for 12 channels and limited DVR capabilities, but if you live in any one of the 210 major TV markets in the U.S. there might be a better option to get live television on your mobile device. You can buy TabletTV for $89.95 with no monthly fee. TableTV is a palm-sized appliance, called a T-pod, that bundles together a TV antenna and tuner with a DVR. The T-pod pairs with a tablet or smartphone allowing the owner to watch live or record television anywhere they may be. And unlike Dish, you’ll be able to watch ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox plus the many other local TV stations available in your area.

The Headline: Wavelength Lets You Share Hollywood Movies with Your Friends, for Free, on the Web

Want to share a movie with a friend? UltraViolet (UV) lets people share the movies in their locker with up to six other people. Silicon Valley startup Wavelength is exploiting this feature to let people share, browse and watch movies in their friend’s library. The UV feature was likely intended to let family members share each other’s films, and a simple change to the terms of service could render what Wavelength is doing illegal. I doubt that will take long to happen.

Twitch, on the other hand, has a better way for friends to enjoy a movie together. The company, purchased by Amazon last year, is using the same infrastructure that allows people to watch live video game play online to let them watch movies together. The company is working with Devolver Digital, which has produced six original, gamer-oriented movies. The Friday night showings of the movies are free, start at 2:15PM PST and run through February 20th. If you miss a showing, you can still rent or download the movie later, but that won’t be free.

This could be a great way for Amazon to leverage its purchase of Twitch. It could use the approach that Twitch is pioneering to start the first online, live movie theater.  Could be an interesting new business for Amazon that is very aligned with its core retail business.

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