From Amazon to YouTube: This Week’s Media News in Review

From Amazon to YouTube: This Week’s Media News in Review

Let’s start our weekly media roundup with two shows that we look forward to watch. While much has been written on Steve Jobs’ upcoming biopic and its lead actor Ashton Kutcher, we are perhaps just as curious to discover the Angry Birds’ animation series, on which additional details were revealed during MIPTV.

However, we will still have to wait before any of them hit ours screens; in the meantime, here are the other media-related news that caught our attention over the last few days.

A busy week for YouTube

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The least we can say is that it has been a paradoxical week for YouTube. On one hand, Google’s video platform announced a content deal with Paramount, which means it is now in business with five out of the six major Hollywood studios. On the other hand, we have learned that Viacom’s $1 billion lawsuit against YouTube is being resurrected.

As you may know, Viacom is the parent company behind Paramount. However, YouTube insists that what was once a wide dispute is now limited to “a tiny percentage of videos long ago removed from YouTube.”

“Nothing in this decision impacts the way YouTube is operating,” the company adds. As a matter of fact, it seems difficult to imagine what could stop a platform that has taken such an important place in our daily lives. Earlier this week, Read It Later revealed an interesting ‘secret’; besides articles, its users are increasingly saving videos they want to watch later. As you can see on this graph, YouTube is by far the leader when it comes to video saves through Read It Later’s app:

As for YouTube’s co-founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, they are now working on a new service called Zeen, which aims to lets users “discover and create beautiful magazines.” While we don’t have many details about the project at this stage, we will definitely ask Chad Hurley for additional information during his panel at The Next Web Conference 2012 later this month.

The Next Web has news too

Talking about The Next Web, we also had our fair share of news on our own this week. As you may have heard, Mark Zuckerberg’s sister Randi is producing a reality TV show about Silicon Valley for US network Bravo, and our very own Hermione Way is part of the cast.

If you have already subscribed to The Next Web iPad Magazine, you may also have noticed that we have launched a partnership with 22tracks, a music curation startup that will let us share a handpicked selection of DJ tracks.

As for the personalized magazine app Zite, it has announced a brand new publisher program. Following its launch, it will let a carefully selected list of media outlets deliver targeted news sections – and we are very excited about the fact that The Next Web is one of them.

Amazon thinks global

Besides magazines, tablets and e-readers are increasingly popular for book reading. According to a study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, over 20% of American adults have read an e-book since last year.

Yet, it remains to be seen what this will mean for independent authors and publishers; a few days ago, Google announced the cancellation of its e-book reseller program for next year. More generally, not all authors are as lucky as JK Rowling, whose platform Pottermore sold over $1.5m worth of Harry Potter e-books in three days.

One thing is for sure, this trend clearly benefits Amazon, and its decision to lend e-books hasn’t had a negative impact on its sales. On the contrary, the company noticed that its Kindle Owners’ Lending Library now drives 229% more sales in backlist e-book titles.

As for its Kindle Store, it is also becoming more global; earlier this week, Amazon launched a Kindle Store targeted at Spanish speakers in the US.

If the Brazilian press is to be believed, the company is also working on plans to offer more books in Portuguese, although it remains to be seen whether it will launch before Apple’s iBookstore lands in Brazil.

On the video front, Amazon’s streaming services Instant Video and Prime are now available on the PS3 in the US, which will likely help them attract more users and subscribers. As for its European film streaming platform LoveFilm, it is expanding its programming in Germany, where it will offer video-on-demand content from the BBC.

The rise of second screens

While tablets are great for reading, they also make for a very popular second screen. As Nielsen pointed out a few days ago, a growing number of viewers are using their tablets while watching TV.

As a result, second screen content is also on the rise, and a growing number of players are getting involved. For instance, the French telecommunications company Orange is about to launch its entertainment check-in app TVCheck in the UK. As for Shazam, which was initially focused on music recognition, it is now broadening its scope to let users find and buy American Idol’s songs during live broadcast.

While it uses a different technology, which belongs to the UK startup WireWAX, the Canadian retailer SSENSE is hoping to fulfill the same need, by letting fashionistas shop directly from a music video:

“The integration we are introducing between technology, entertainment and retail with this video not only creates a unique experience for the audience, but also has utility. People often wonder what performers are wearing, where they can purchase that item – we have bridged that gap,” its CEO Rami Atallah said.

BSkyB on a new path

Finally, the phone hacking scandal keeps on giving in the UK, and has recently led Rupert Murdoch’s son James to step down as BSkyB chairman. As our editor Paul Sawers pointed out, this is actually good news for the company, which “is gearing up for what’s looking to be a monumental year” on the video front.

Yet, the scandal surrounding News Corp is far from over, and we will definitely follow the Leveson inquiry closely over the next few weeks.

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