YouTube is arming itself with celebrity star power which, along with news outlets like The Wall Street Journal, will spotlight the video service's new selection of premium grade channels and content next month. Google is spending big bucks getting these deals in place, at least by pedestrian standards, reportedly investing $100 million or more in original content, according to Mashable.
In what was largely overshadowed by the intense backlash over Netflix's ill-fated decision to spin off its DVD-by-mail rental business into Qwikster is that you'd be able to rent videogames in addition to DVDs and Blu-ray movies. It was to be an upgrade option similar to the one for Blu-ray, except you'd be able to rent Wii, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 games. Did Netflix nix those plans when it axed Qwikster?
Reed Hastings isn't infallible, we know this by now. As CEO of Netflix, he's been brilliant in growing his company into a premier streaming service, and spectacularly flawed in underestimating the fallout from customers over hefty price increases and major business model changes. But on that latter part, Mr. Hastings is anything but oblivious, at least after the fact, and has repeatedly owned up to the bad vibes directed at Netflix.
If Microsoft is miffed that it's YouTube channel was hacked over the weekend, it should try putting the incident in perspective and be glad its videos weren't replaced with hardcore pornography like what happened to Sesame Street's YouTube account last week. A less ornery hacker instead chose to remove Microsoft's videos and replace them with mostly G-rated clips around 3 or 4 seconds in length imploring users to add video responses, create background images for the channel, and other benign requests.
AOL just sent us word that it's relaunching its AOL Radio service, which is now powered by Slacker. It's a major overhaul with a top-to-bottom redesign, custom artists stations, improved functionality, fewer commercials, and a greater than 10 million song catalog. Listeners will have over 200 stations to browse, including custom artists stations, ESPN Radio, and a whole bunch more.
Video may have killed the radio star, but Vdio, the online video equivalent of Rdio, will do battle with Netflix for streaming supremacy. Up until yesterday, Vdio was a secret project headed by Skype creators Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, along with a modest team of heavy hitting players who aren't accustomed to failure, people with experience from Skype, Napster, Microsoft, TV Guide, and Apache. Does Netflix have anything to worry about?
Hulu is officially off the auction block, which means Google is going to have to be content with YouTube, Apple will have to find another way to boost its Apple TV platform, and Yahoo, Microsoft, Amazon, Dish Network, and all the rest who were interested no longer need to concern themselves with what was gearing up to be an epic bidding war. For whatever reason, Hulu simply had a change of heart.
Music streaming service Pandora has taken heat as of late despite being one of the most downloaded apps on most mobile platforms. The problem is that as time goes on, investors are becoming increasingly skittish regarding Pandora’s ad revenue. At present, the company is not expected to turn an annual profit until 2014. As a result, Pandora’s stock price has tumbled 16 percent in recent months.
Raise your hand if you've heard of Epic Meal Time. Great. What about Leo Laporte's This Week in Tech? Excellent. Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog? If most of you geeks aren't raising your hands by now, something's wrong. But that's not what this is about.
And that's why I'm here: I'm not going to point you in the direction of super well-known video shows that you could (really, should) be watching. I'm here to show you some of the slightly less popular gems that might have flown under your Geek Radar for some odd reason. I'll wait while you make the popcorn.