Google has today announced the new YouTube Trends. YouTube rends will be a destination site that has all the new and upcoming videos on the video sharing site. The goal is to present viral videos in a single place, so you don't have to wait for them to hit your email inbox of Facebook wall. Being Google, the whole thing will be algorithmically generated.
YouTube Trends will include a twice daily "4x4" with videos from the algorithm along with content from video curation sites. There will also be a blog with in-depth examination of the videos and their associated memes using YouTubes data. Users will also have a new dashboard with exploration in mind. Expect lots of data visualizations and charts too.
YouTube, in conjunction with YouTube hit The Gregory Brothers put together this little video to help put the whole thing in perspective. Enjoy.
In a recent New York Times Interview with Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, the subject of Netflix came up. Bewkes held firm to the assertion that Netflix is actually a very small player with no power to affect the industry. He compared the disc rental and streaming company to the Albanian military, strangely. "It’s a little bit like, is the Albanian army going to take over the world?" Bewkes quipped. "I don’t think so."
The Time Warner chief continued to rail against Netflix claiming they had undermined the video rental industry. We would have to agree with that, considering the state of Blockbuster. Still, Bewkes maintained that Time Warner did not know Netflix would cause consumers to shift away from purchasing and renting from brick and mortar stores. We're struck by how well Mr. Bewkes manages to lay out Netflix's notable impact, while at the same time saying they are not significant in the market.
All this comes back to the Starz deal that allows Neflix to stream many newer releases. Time Warner owns Starz, and Bewkes insinuated they might not renew the deal when it expires in a few years. Whether or not production companies see Netflix as a major player, the service is winning over consumers. When the Starz deal, expires, content companies might have no choice but to deal with the juggernaut that is Netflix. Some, like Bewkes, have demanded that Netflix charge more to better support content licenses. How much would you pay for Netflix streaming, assuming more licensing deals came through?
Netflix announced today that they have acquired streaming licenses to a plethora of ABC and Disney owned TV shows. The entire run of Lost will be available, and will popular programs like Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy. For the younger crowd, Netflix is also getting access to many Disney channel shows. New episodes of many of these shows will be available on Netflix 15 days after their original airing. That might sound a little lengthy, but nothing compared to the DVD-length waits many series carry.
It is unclear if Netflix is paying anything approaching the $100,000 per episode rumored last week. We would imagine not, as ABC and Disney have been more receptive to streaming deals with the company before. It's good to see a new range of content hitting the service, and we can only hope that more companies get on board with streaming. Check out the press link to see the full list of new additions. Anything there look particularly interesting to you? Well, other than the Hannah Montana -wait, we mean action movies, manly action movies.
The AP is reporting today that Viacom has officially filed for appeal in the YouTube copyright infringement case. You may remember that as the long running case that finally came to an end a few months back. The verdict affirmed YouTube's protection under "safe harbor" provisions. This means YouTube cannot be held liable for copyrighted content that is uploaded by users, provided they make a good faith effort to remove it. Viacom is seeking over $1 billion in damages.
Viacom has retained well-known attorney Theodore Olson to continue the legal battle. Olson has called the last ruling "a very bad decision". Speaking about bad decisions, the original case seemed to turn against Viacom when it was revealed that Viacom employees were instructed to surreptitiously upload copyrighted content to YouTube in the early days. Some of those Viacom clips are alleged to be included in the lawsuit.
Viacom seems determined to spare no expense in its quest to fundamentally break the internet. Do you think they will succeed?
SkyFire is a browser available on various smartphone platforms. It's claim to fame is that it can pull down Flash videos on the web, and stream them to your phone. The result is Flash video playing on phones that don't have access to the actual plugin. The app is free everywhere except on Apple's iOS platform, where Flash is forbidden. In its first weekend, SkyFire has managed to make almost $1 million, just $2.99 at a time.
All this is happening in the midst of SkyFire pulling the app in the face of a massive onslaught of users hitting their servers. The app returned, and the users were not deterred. After Apple's share, SkyFire will be making about $700,000. Hopefully they will be able to upgrade their backend.
They'll probably need it too. Apple doesn't look to be backing down from their no-Flash policy. For the time being, the only way to get Flash video on the iPhone is with workarounds like SkyFire. Have you tried SkyFire on iOS? Is it worth the $2.99 price tag?
Hulu CEO Jason Kilar offered up some interesting numbers today to illustrate the strength of the streaming video service. If you take Kilar's word for it, the prognosis is good. According to Kilar, Hulu is on track to make over $240 million in revenue in 2010. Other notable figures included 30 million monthly users, 800 million ad impressions, and 352 ad partners.
Not bad for a service that many pundits expected to fail out of the gate. Hulu has made its way by showing limited ads during video streams. A pay versions was launched recently, but it's not clear how much of the total revenue will come from those $10 per month subscriptions.
One thing is clear about this: internet TV is big, and as much as the networks might want to think of Hulu as a secondary content source, it is fast becoming a dominant one. We're interested to see how Hulu does now that the paid Hulu Plus service is open to everyone. Of course, Kilar didn't mention profits, so it's possible Hulu is still treading water. Could we be seeing sky-high profits soon?
Hulu announced on their company blog this morning that the premium Hulu Plus service has officially been opened to all interested viewers. Previously, you needed an invite to sign up for the pay service. As of now, the video streaming site is charging $9.99 per month for access to the expanded catalog of shows. There were rumblings that Hulu would be lowering the Price to $5, but that hasn't happened yet.
Paying users will have access to Hulu Plus on the PC, iPad, PS3, Roku, and some Blu-ray players. Hulu also took to opportunity to showcase the expanding lineup of Plus content including The Event and No Ordinary Family. Hulu Plus has gotten some poor reviews due to limited content. Much of what is available is also on the free version of the service.
Now that any random user can sign up, Hulu may begin hearing complaints about the selection. Perhaps some changes, like the rumored price drop, could happen somewhere down the road. Have you tried Hulu Plus? Was it worth it?
In recent days, residents of Turkey have had unrestricted access to YouTube for the first time in 30 months. Now a court in Ankara has ordered the site banned again because the video sharing site hosts clips featuring former opposition leader Deniz Baykal. Turkey's Telecommunications Minister has been instructed to request the removal of the clips, and block the site if Google does not immediately comply.
YouTube was originally banned in May 2008 after the courts took issue with some clips on the site. Specifically, some videos were found to be insulting to Turkey's modern founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, This is considered a crime in Turkey. Turkish users have been able to access YouTube through proxies, but the experience is degraded. Bloomberg is reporting that the site is still accessible right now, but that could change at any time.
Video streaming site Vimeo has just launched a new interface geared toward viewing on a big screen. The idea is reminiscent of YouTube's Lean Back interface. Vimeo is calling their version Couch Mode, and it seems like a natural for use on GoogleTV. The full screen player has big buttons and simple navigation giving access to playlists.
Users can easily access content from their HTPC or GoogleTV by filtering for HD or staff picks, among other options. There is also integration with Vimeo's handy Watch Later feature so users can easily tag a video for viewing later. Anyone can check out the interface by pointing a web browser to http://vimeo.com/couchmode. The site uses HTML5 and seems to require H.264 support. So it worked find in Chrome, but not so much in Firefox. Let us know what you think.
The Netflix outage was just another subtle reminder that the cloud isn’t perfect, but either way the company seems to be taking the issue head on by offering customers the opportunity to receive a 2% credit to cover the period they were offline. Update: Credit might be higher depending on your plan.
It may only work out to a few dimes for most people, but either way its great to see them offer reparations for those who took the day off work for a Mad Men marathon. Keep an eye on your inbox for a link that applies the credit to your account if your interested in cashing in.
Did Netflix create any good will with this move? Or would they have been better to sweep this one under the rug? It sure beats bending over to pickup coins off the sidewalk!