It has been another busy week in the digital media space, and with so much to get your teeth into, we’ve taken a look back at some of the highlights and lowlights, bringing you a snapshot of some of the big talking points this week.
Stream of consciousness
There was good news arrived for PlayStation 3 owners this week, as Google finally launched a native YouTube app for the Sony games console. The only catch – for now, at least – is that it’s only available in the US of A, though it will be launching in other countries in the coming months. For now, you’ll need to make do with the clumsy, clunky browser version to watch your cute kitten flicks if you’re not in the States.
While Google was firmly focused on one market with this piece of video-streaming news, internationalization was the name of the game elsewhere, with Vevo launching its music video platform and slew of apps in Brazil. Meanwhile, Netflix expanded its European focus beyond the UK and Ireland, heading to Scandinavia where Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland are in Netflix’s plans. It should roll out there by the end of this year.
Speaking of Netflix, the video-on-demand (VoD) company announced a new post-play feature this week, to make it easier for users to watch several movies or TV episodes in a row.
“In practical terms, the ‘post-play’ experience lets users minimize credits and fast forward to the next episode,” wrote TNW’s Anna Heim.
“Considering how easy it is to search through all the news and discussion across the Web in real-time, how come we can’t do the same with the multitude of TV channels available?,” asked our Martin Bryant. “Well, today, if you have an iPad and you’re in the US, you can, thanks to an impressive new app called Boxfish Live Guide.”
In a nutshell, Boxfish transforms your iPad into a real-time TV search engine. “Want to catch the latest mentions of your favorite sports team, find out who’s mentioning Barack Obama right now, or get an alert when the company you work for appears on TV? It’s all possible,” said Bryant.
Shifting the focus from video to audio, online music-streaming service Deezer finally began rolling out in Asia this week, as it continues its giant land-grab of countries where Spotify doesn’t yet exist.
Deezer will first become available in Thailand, followed by Singapore and Malaysia, ahead of its upcoming launch in Indonesia and the Philippines in the coming weeks.
Finally, SoundCloud partnered with one-click payment service Adyen this week, to power its subscription services. The company told us in a statement:
“We identified issues with our current payments system for Premium subscriptions, the original system was implemented when SoundCloud was a much smaller entity. We identified a new payments service provider, Adyen, that was more suitable to today’s needs (Premium subscriptions in multiple currencies) and the future (increasing Premium subscriptions).
We undertook a review of our payments service provider alongside other solutions. We needed to find a provider that was more optimal for our high growth rate.
It doesn’t affect other payment solutions by third parties using our API, such as Ganxy and Vibe deck or other distribution solutions such as Tunecore.”
That’s five hundred words in, and not a sniff of anything Olympics-related yet. Oh, wait…I spoke too soon.
A final word about NBC
The London Olympics have hit the headlines for various reasons over the past few weeks – yes, Bolt, Farah et al stole many of the headlines. But so did NBC. And even with the Olympics petering out last Sunday, the Web was still full of chatter about the broadcaster’s antics.
In one corner, NBC was pushing some impressive numbers – 220 million tuned in to its coverage, apparently. The closing ceremony was particularly popular with viewers, until it chose to cease the broadcast early to transmit a new TV show.
NBC’s tape-delaying tactics once again reared its head. Just to recap, the broadcaster chose not to broadcast many events live due to time-zone differences, opting to save them until prime-time in the US. More viewers means more advertising dollars.
However, rather than apologizing, NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus pondered whether it should have tape-delayed MORE events, to draw in even more viewers. It no doubt would have worked, but it would only have served to annoy even more of the public.
BBC to NYT: Out of the frying pan and into the cauldron
The BBC was generally praised for its Olympic Games coverage, which saw 90% of the UK population tune in at some point. But the really big news this week with the British broadcaster was its soon-to-be-former Director General Mark Thompson has lined up a pretty sweet position for himself…as The New York Times’ new Chief Executive.
This raised a few eyebrows, with PaidContent’s Robert Andrews noting that Thompson may be a custodian and curator, but he’s no digital creator.
“The BBC is rightly respected for many of its online initiatives,” wrote Andrews. “But few close to it would recognise Thompson as the visionary who has kickstarted them.”
Moreover, how can Thompson be expected to drive profits at the NYT when he’s only ever worked in the UK’s public-sector broadcasting sector? As Andrews says, it’s “…a large and well-respected sector that is legislated to enrich civic life, but not to make profit.”
It’ll be a tough transition for sure, but it does seem like he’s jumped out of the frying pan and into the cauldron, as Newsonomics put it.
It’s almost like a week can’t go by these days without allegations of plagiarism being bandied about – and this week, Deadspin reported that for the second time in three weeks, ESPN had been caught plagiarizing.
“In late July, ESPN got a well-deserved tsk-tsking from the Internet after a SportsCenter anchor delivered ‘breaking news’ about Dwight Howard that was lifted, nearly verbatim, from a RealGM.com report,” wrote Deadspin. “‘This stuff happens from time to time,’ Vince Doria, ESPN’s senior vice president and director of news, later told ESPN’s Poynter Review Project Blog. He added that ‘you’d like it never to happen.’ Well, three weeks later, it happened again.”
“Last night’s 6pm SportsCenter featured language taken from Yahoo’s exclusive report about Red Sox players turning on Bobby Valentine,” it continues. “It was all Yahoo’s work. The only thing SportsCenter added was the word ‘reportedly’ (and a little something from ESPN’s Buster Olney about 17 Red Sox players being involved.”
“Our sources say all of the Frommers.com team was gutted today as editors, developers, producers, and other staff were told they would be let go,” wrote Skift’s Rafat Ali. “The Frommer’s book editors will be moving from Hoboken’s waterfront to the the Zagat floor at Google’s offices in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. The Frommer’s Unlimited staff, which is made up of a number of UK residents both in the U.S. and in offices in London’s Brick Lane, will be phased out according to more complicated UK labor laws.”
With Forbes noting that this acquisition confirms Google as a media company, another big tech firm that often divides opinion on its status as a media company caused a huge stir this week.
Twitter announced user caps for third-party Twitter clients, effectively limiting the maximum number of users any outside client can ever have.
“It is also changing the rate on its API per end-point, meaning that most individual clients will be allowed 60 calls per hour, per-endpoint, instead of 350 calls per hour for multiple endpoints,” wrote TNW’s Matthew Panzarino. “Some aspects of Twitter display, like profiles, user lookups and search will be allowed a rate of 720 calls per hour per-endpoint. This should work out as parity for most clients, and perhaps an increase for others.”